The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – set up in response to the financial crisis of 2008 – is launching a database service on June 19 that will allow consumers to search for and access customer credit card complaints to major banks. It is, so far, the first agency to create a public database that tracks complaints about financial products.
The database's goal is to provide consumers, businesses and advocacy groups more information on credit card complaints against banks with more than $10 billion in assets. The bureau plans to expand the custom database to more credit card complaints from other large banks as well as those regarding mortgages, student loans and other financial products.
"Each and every time we hear from American consumers about their troublesome transactions with financial products, it gives us important insight. The information helps us, and it should be available to help others too," said Richard Cordray, the agency's director. "By making our data publicly available, initially in the area of credit cards, we hope to improve the transparency and efficiency of this essential consumer market."
According to the Los Angeles Times, consumers can search the bureau's custom database by company, product, type of complaint and ZIP code. There will be no personal information about the customer included in each entry. Furthermore, the complaint's resolution will also be posted under four categories: closed with monetary relief, closed with non-monetary relief, closed with an explanation or just closed.
The CFPB has received almost 50,000 complaints from July 21 of last year to June 1, 2012. More than 19,000 of those have been about mortgages and almost 17,000 regarding credit cards. The public database will only contain complaints filed after June 1 of this year, though the bureau hopes to retroactively add more data later.
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