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Posts from August 2011

Co-signing on campus?

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Credit card issuers and private student lenders have long had a presence at America’s colleges and universities. In fact, there are more than 1,000 special marketing agreements between credit card issuers and schools. But due to changes in the law and marketplace, more students are finding that they may need a co-signer to qualify for a credit card or a private student loan.

Many people assume that a student’s co-signer is a parent, but that isn’t necessarily true. So, if one of your classmates asks you to co-sign a credit card application or a private student loan, should you do it?

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Promoting openness in CFPB rulemaking

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Public participation is essential to CFPB’s rulemaking process. We firmly believe that input from consumers, industry, and other interested parties will help make our rules more efficient and effective. To promote openness and transparency, CFPB has adopted a policy governing ex parte presentations. This policy generally requires public disclosure of ex parte presentations made to CFPB staff concerning a pending rulemaking. This way, the general public will have access to the input that CFPB is receiving. (more…)

Coordinating Consumer Complaints

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The Dodd-Frank Act requires the CFPB to share consumer complaint information with the FTC and other state and federal agencies. The goal is to make sure agencies coordinate their enforcement of consumer financial protection laws. Recently, we signed an agreement with the FTC that moves us one step closer to achieving that goal. The agreement allows the CFPB to access consumer complaints within the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel system. In addition, we will share complaint information that we receive from consumers with the Sentinel database, subject to appropriate privacy protections and access restrictions. (more…)

On Our Way

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Last time, we talked about the mission of the Office of Servicemember Affairs. Now I’d like to tell you a little about the work the Office of Servicemember Affairs is doing. We’ve assembled a great team of professionals with a whole lot of military experience, and the CFPB is going to hear from us about the financial issues that impact military families. We’re sharing stories from military families within the CFPB and with other government agencies who work with us to address the issues that need to be fixed. We’ve also made sure that the CFPB’s Consumer Response Center is ready for military-specific questions. And they are ready to flag complaints that are coming in from military or veterans’ families. (more…)

Military advocates on duty

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On July 21st, our mission officially began. We’re ready to carry out our orders – to protect military consumers and their families from illegal financial practices. We’ll establish the perimeter so you can keep focused on your mission of defending our nation. Our sights are set on educating and empowering you and your family to make better-informed decisions regarding consumer financial products and services.

Metaphors aside, new military missions or assignments require a great deal of preparation. There are training evolutions, drills, safety and security briefings, and detailed paperwork and workshops to complete. All of this is focused on ensuring your safety and the successful completion of your mission.

But how do you prepare yourself financially for the mission? Do you define your goals and develop a plan to ensure the financial success of you and your family? How sure are you that the financial products and services you use are reputable? These questions are essential to good planning, and we are focused on them as part of our mission of serving you.

We understand military service and the unique challenges associated with it. We’ve served, too! Collectively, our Office of Servicemember Affairs team has over 100 years of military experience. As the CFPB works to encourage good business practices and weed out bad ones, our experience will help ensure that the Bureau considers the needs of the military community.

The CFPB has already begun providing assistance to consumers. If you have a complaint related to a credit card, you can submit it to the Bureau. If you are military and you file a complaint, be sure to check the military box! Laws that protect servicemembers may apply to your complaint. It will also help us spot new trends and protect you more effectively.

The Bureau also has information for people struggling with their mortgages and a place to tell your story about a financial product or service.

The Office of Servicemember Affairs will actively monitor your complaints and coordinate responses with our staff or with other federal and state agencies. We will work with the Pentagon and the military services to enhance financial education for servicemembers, veterans, and their families. We will encourage CFPB enforcement teams to take action against financial providers who break the law to harm servicemembers.

Please visit us regularly and keep track of our forward progress!

Know Before You Owe: Weigh in now!

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In May, we introduced the Know Before You Owe project to give consumers, lenders, and other industry participants a way to help us make mortgage shopping easier. Since then, you’ve responded with more than 18,000 comments, and we’ve listened.

Today, we’re asking for your input once again. Just like last time, here are a few questions we’d like you to keep in mind as you review:

  • Would this form help consumers understand the closing costs associated with their loans?
  • Could lenders and brokers clearly and easily explain the form to their customers?
  • What would you like to see improved on the form? Is there some way to make things a little bit clearer?

Know Before You Owe graphic that links to Feedback Tool

We will consider the information submitted through our website as we analyze the information we receive in the in-depth interviews to further revise the prototypes. This round is open for feedback until Monday, August 8th at 7pm Eastern time. You can participate any time between now and then, but the sooner you tell us the earlier we’ll be able to start thinking about how to improve on these forms for the next round. Send us your feedback today!