Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

March 23, 2012

What is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and why it may be important to you if you have a mortgage, credit card and/or student loans.

Since 2006, the Law Office of Linda C. Garrett, has received thousands of calls since 2006 from desperate and frightened consumers regarding various consumer issues . . . at the top--mortgages, credit cards and student loan issues. In the past, when someone wanted to complain about their mortgage lender for justly denying their loan modification application, or a collection agency due to harassment they received from the collection agency on behalf of, for instance, Sallie Mae, I would direct them to the Federal Trade Commission, the California Department of Consumer Affairs or the California Attorney General's office. When asked, "what should I do if I have already made these complaints?" I would tell them there was little else they could do except refer them to an attorney in their area if they desired to file a lawsuit.

In efforts to assist the distressed consumer, in 2010, President Obama approved the "Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Credit Protection Act" which establishes a new bureau known as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB was established early 2011.

Richard Cordray, Director of thee CFPB, states that the mission of the CFPB is to, amongst other things, become a supervisory program that "promotes the development of markets for consumer financial products and services that are fair, transparent and competitive."

The video clip outlines that while there are seven different federal agencies dealing with banking issues, creditor issues, etc., there was not, until 2010, an agency that served as a "cop on the beat" to police financial institutions when they broke the law. For this reason, the CPFB, while new (and a work in progress), seeks to provide much-needed basic consumer services to assist the consumer to redress their complaints and concerns against lenders and banks. For instance, if a consumer wishes to submit a complaint against their lender, or bank in connection with their credit cards or student loans, the CFPB would be the federal agency the consumer would submit the complaint to for reporting and follow up.

On the CFPB's website, you can:

1. Submit a Complaint
2. Tell Your Story
3. Monitor the work undertaken by the CFPB

Additional resources of the CFPB include providing important information regarding student loans, to include, helping the consumer determine the best student loan for them--based on their needs and budget. CFPB also provides up-to-date reports regarding various financial matters that affect consumers.

One of the benefits I appreciate is that, at least for now, this new governmental agency appears to care about helping the consumer in these frightening times. For example, CFPB is responsible for ensuring that when a consumer borrows money (car, house, credit cards, etc), the consumer understands the material terms of the contract. For example, the contract is written in clear, plain language, to identify, for instance, how much interest the consumer will pay if the consumer paid on the lender's proposed schedule.

I encourage anyone who has a mortgage, credit card or student to go to the new CFPB's website as well as subscribe to their YouTube videos. They are straight forward and very informative.

Contact Ms. Garrett, California Consumer, HAMP, bankruptcy and family law attorney, at the Law Office of Linda C. Garrett if you wish to set up a free 30-minute free consultation to discuss your case.