WASHINGTON — The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Thursday
launched the nation’s largest public database of federal consumer
financial complaints, opening up to the public more than 90,000
individual complaints related to financial products and services.
launch expands the Consumer Complaint Database significantly from about
19,000 credit card complaints to more than 90,000 complaints on
mortgages, student loans, bank accounts and services, other consumer
loans and credit cards.
“By sharing these complaints with the
public, we are creating greater transparency in consumer financial
products and services,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray said at a field
hearing in Des Moines, Iowa, to announce the expansion of the bureau’s
complaint database. “The database is good for consumers and it is also
good for honest businesses. We believe the marketplace of ideas can do
great things with this data.”
The database allows the public to
see what consumers complained about and why, as well as how and when the
company in question responds. It has more than one million data points,
covering approximately 450 companies. It includes the type of
complaint, the date of submission, the consumer’s ZIP code, and the
company that the complaint concerns.
The database also includes
information about the actions taken on a complaint by those companies —
whether the company’s response was timely, how the company responded,
and whether the consumer disputed the company’s response. A consumer’s
identity and other personal information are not included in the data.
database allows users to easily track, sort, search and download
information. The data also is available via API (application programming
interface), which allows developers to build applications, conduct
analyses and perform research. Consumers can build their own
visualizations, charts and graphs. The data also can be embedded on
other websites and shared through social media.
The live database
updates daily. So, as the CFPB handles more complaints, more will be
added. When the CFPB accepts consumer complaints about other financial
products and services, they will be put on the database after a period
of time. Complaints are listed in the database only after the company
responds to the complaint or after they have had the complaint for 15
days, whichever comes first.
While the allegations in the
complaint are not verified, a commercial relationship between the
consumer and the company is substantiated before the complaint is added
to the database.
Consumers are given the option to review and
dispute company responses. The CFPB then reviews that feedback. The CFPB
also indicated it will use the database along with other information,
such as the timeliness of the company’s response, in a variety of ways,
including aiding the bureau to prioritize complaints for investigation.