As we work to ensure a consumer bureau that’s responsive to today’s most pressing problems, we’ve made it a priority to keep one foot firmly planted outside the Beltway. We know that those of us here in Washington will never understand what’s going on in your community better than you do.

That’s why we continue to hold listening sessions across the country. Recently, I talked with community advocates, social service providers, and others in Columbus, Ohio, and Great Falls, Montana.

Here are some key concerns I heard raised in these conversations:

  • Debt settlement issues. Consumers who pay for debt settlement services are too often not getting the help they were promised.
  • Foreclosures, credit scores, credit reports, and their effect on employment. Advocates in Ohio are worried about the impact foreclosure can have on a homeowner’s credit report and credit score, and how the credit report, in turn, can affect future employment prospects.
  • Disputing a credit report error. A Montana attorney reported that his clients frequently have difficulty figuring out how to dispute a credit report error, and they often end up purchasing unnecessary and costly credit monitoring or credit repair services when searching for information online.
  • Payday lending. Payday lending operations—including those that operate online and those that target people residing on reservations—continue to be a concern for both communities. One Montana speaker described a client with $1,500 in payday loans whose sole income was $1,600 a month in disability payments.

What are you hearing in your community? Please tell us in the comments below.

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