Monthly complaint, supervisory highlights reports go dormant

Two sets of reports previously regularly issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are no longer being updated, and the agency hasn’t offered a public explanation.

A pair of regular report series has halted without fanfare at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Supervisory Highlights had previously appeared about three times a year while installments of a consumer complaint highlights report appeared monthly.

The last regular monthly complaint report was issued by the bureau in May and covered complaints from older consumers. Several special monthly complaint reports were issued as well, including after the regular reports stopped, covering state-level, student loan, and servicemember complaints among others, the most recent of which was issued in late October.

Regular reports typically highlighted complaints about a particular product and in a particular geographic area.

The CFPB has not offered an explanation for the cessation, but last month, the bureau issued a request for information on consumer complaint reporting, including its monthly complaint highlights. That request sought feedback on

  • The frequency of the bureau’s reporting on consumer complaints;
  • Whether the bureau should include more, less, or the same amount of reporting on state and local complaint trends;
  • Whether it is net beneficial or net harmful to the transparent and efficient operation of markets for consumer financial products and services for the bureau to publish the names of the most-complained-about companies;
  • Whether the bureau should provide more, less, or the same amount of context for complaint information, particularly with regard to product or service market size and company share;
  • Whether the bureau should supplement observations from consumer complaints with observations of company responses to complaints;
  • Whether the bureau should share more, less, or the same amount of information on month-to-month trends;
  • Whether the bureau should share more, less, or the same amount of information on particular products and services.

The last supervisory highlights report was the Summer 2017 edition, issued in September and covering CFPB supervisory activities during the first six months of the year. Previous issues have generally covered a four-month period and were released a few months after the period the report covered. The Special editions of supervisory highlights have been issued, most recently covering credit reporting.

In its RFI on supervision processes, the CFPB sought feedback on “the usefulness of Supervisory Highlights to share findings and promote transparency.”

In his first semi-annual report to Congress, Acting CFPB Director Mick Mulvaney declared his intention to meet the minimum of his agency’s mandate in order to protect Americans from government overreach.

“The bureau is far too powerful, with precious little oversight of its activities,” Mulvaney said in the report. “The power wielded by the director of the bureau could all too easily be used to harm consumers, destroy businesses, or arbitrarily remake American financial markets.”

Fredrikson & Byron Law