In a recess appointment on January 4th, President Obama appointed Richard Cordray as the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, (CFPB). The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (Dodd-Frank Act) established the consumer bureau. Former TARP Chair, Elizabeth Warren is widely credited for her middle-class advocacy, and relentless persistence that led to the creation of the new agency. Warren, who is now running to become a US Senator representing Massachusetts, led the establishment of the agency, building the structure and organization with the goal to protect consumers from financial tricks and traps often hidden in mortgages, credit cards and other financial products.
The bureau states its central mission as the following:
The central mission of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is to make markets for consumer financial products and services work for Americans — whether they are applying for a mortgage, choosing among credit cards, or using any number of other consumer financial products.
Upon his appointment as director Mr. Cordray hit the ground running, and that very afternoon emails asking average Americans to “share their story” went out to the agency’s growing database of consumers. Consumers were asked for and given access to submit a mortgage complaint or credit card complaint. Once submitted, consumers can check their complaint status. The website also helps consumers find the appropriate agency to contact on other financial issues through the Get Help Now link.
It’s clear that the bureau was intent of making their website consumer friendly. The website is extremely easy to read and use – with larger type than you would normally see and simple understandable language. The simplicity (in the best sense) is in direct opposition to the various complicated financial documents most consumers find too confusing to understand – the very documents that the bureau hopes to push to make more understandable to everyday consumers.
But beyond the ability to get help with a financial complaint, the bureau’s website provides useful consumer information on the use of various different everyday financial concerns, particularly in the areas of banking and credit. Consumers can also get information on the following:
Budgeting Credit cards
Credit counseling agencies
Credit reports and credit scores
Gift cards, stored-value cards
Service members, veterans, and their families
Visit the CFPB at www.consumerfinance.gov to learn more.