An official website of the United States Government Español

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More tools for Spanish speakers

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Many people struggle to understand consumer financial products and services. These struggles can be compounded by language barriers, and can make some populations prime targets for exploitation. Recognizing these challenges, we wanted to provide our Spanish-speaking audience with access to clear, unbiased information about financial products and services.

Therefore, today we are unveiling consumerfinance.gov/es.

On consumerfinance.gov/es, you can find answers, in plain-language Spanish, to consumers’ most common questions. It’s also our first responsive site – it works beautifully on mobile devices as well as on desktops – in response to research that shows two-thirds of Latinos who are online tend to access the Internet from a mobile device. And this is just the beginning – we want to continue to expand to include more resources and tools in languages other than English so that we can reach as many people as effectively as possible.

In all of our efforts, hearing from the public is critical in assessing how best to use our tools to improve the workings of consumer financial markets.

We take complaints in Spanish, as well as more than 180 other languages, over the telephone, at 855-411-CFPB (2372). We want everyone, regardless of which language they speak, to know that they have a place to turn when they have a problem with a consumer financial product or service.

The customer may not always be right, but the customer always deserves to have someone who will take the time to listen and, where justified and appropriate, do something about it.

 

Más recursos para los consumidores que hablan español

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Muchas personas tienen dificultades entendiendo los productos y servicios financieros. Y es más difícil cuando existe  la barrera del idioma, resultando en que algunas comunidades sean objetivo de explotación. Por esta razón,  hemos querido ofrecer a nuestra audiencia que habla español acceso a información clara y objetiva sobre los productos y servicios financieros.

Por lo tanto, estamos presentando consumerfinance.gov/es.

En consumerfinance.gov/es, usted podrá encontrar respuestas a las preguntas más comunes de los consumidores en un lenguaje claro y sencillo. También es nuestro primer sitio web ajustable – ya que funciona muy bien en los teléfonos móviles, así como en los computadores – una investigación indicó que dos tercios de los latinos que están en línea tienden a acceder el internet desde un teléfono móvil. Esto es sólo el comienzo – queremos seguir ampliando para incluir más recursos y herramientas en otros idiomas para que podamos llegar a muchas personas lo más efectivamente que sea posible.

En todos nuestros esfuerzos, escuchamos a la opinión pública ya que es fundamental para evaluar la mejor manera de utilizar nuestras herramientas para mejorar el funcionamiento de los mercados financieros de los consumidores.

Aceptamos quejas en español por teléfono al 855-411-CFPB (2372), así como en más de 180  idiomas. Queremos que todos los consumidores, sin importar  la lengua que hablen, sepan que tienen un lugar donde acudir cuando tienen un problema con un producto o servicio financiero. Tal vez el cliente no siempre tenga la razón, pero el cliente siempre merece que alguién se tome el tiempo para escucharlo(a) y, cuando sea justificado y apropiado, hacer algo al respecto.

Live from Los Angeles, CA!

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Earlier today, we were in Los Angeles for a discussion on challenges and opportunities faced by new Americans in the consumer marketplace. There were remarks from Director Richard Cordray, followed by discussion by the Consumer Advisory Board, and testimony from consumer groups, industry representatives, and members of the public.

If you missed the livestream, you can watch the recording below.

Foreclosure help is free, and scams are expensive

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If you’re having trouble paying your mortgage, we can help you get connected to a HUD-approved housing counselor at no cost to you. The counselor can help you work with your servicer or lender to try to avoid foreclosure, organize your finances, understand your mortgage options, and find a solution that works for you.

Get foreclosure help.

How to spot a scam

Mortgage loan modification scams are designed to take your money by making a false promise of saving you from foreclosure. Scammers may:

  • Ask you to pay high fees upfront to receive services,
  • Promise to get you a loan modification,
  • Ask you to sign over title to your property,
  • Ask you to sign papers that you do not understand,
  • Say you should start making payments to someone other than your servicer or lender,
  • Claim to be conducting a “forensic audit,” or
  • Tell you to stop making mortgage loan payments altogether.

Companies that offer mortgage relief services aren’t allowed to collect any fees until they give you a written offer from your servicer or lender that you decide is acceptable. A mortgage relief company must also tell you that:

  • The company is not associated with the government;
  • Your lender may not agree to modify your loan; and
  • If the company tells you to stop paying your mortgage, that you can lose your home and damage your credit.

If you think you have been scammed

File a complaint online or call us at (855) 411-CFPB (2372) from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. ET, Monday-Friday.

Share this with #ForeclosureHelpIsFree

It can be hard for people to talk about finances, especially if they’re in trouble. Even if you’re not facing foreclosure yourself, please share a link to this advice with your networks using the hashtag #ForeclosureHelpisFree. You’ll never know who you might be able to help.

Learning to speak financial products and services

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It can be hard to understand the language of financial products and services. Just what exactly is a grace period? What about an ARM? A balloon payment? And while the Internet can serve up an answer, how can you be sure it’s the right one?

Ask CFPB, a new interactive online tool from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), can help.

Say you’re thinking about buying a home. You could type in a question to Ask CFPB’s search box, or you could browse the list of questions in the Mortgage category. Once you’ve done a search, you can also filter by topic, like “fees” or “closing,” or by populations, like servicemembers, students, and older Americans.

Ask CFPB contains three general categories of questions and answers:

  1. Definitions: Financial products and terms are often described in industry jargon. Ask CFPB translates the jargon into clear definitions. You can get answers to questions like, “What is a credit report?” or “What is a reverse mortgage?”
  2. Explanations: Financial products can include many complicated terms and features, and it can be difficult for you to understand how they work. Ask CFPB provides you with general information and explanations on terms and features of financial products.
  3. Situations: Ask CFPB arms you with information and tips to help you navigate various situations. For example, you can use to the tool to ask, “What if my lender quoted me one rate at application but raised it at closing?”

Ask CFPB also lets you provide feedback. You can rate an answer “Helpful,” “Too long,” “Confusing,” or “Incorrect.” And if you don’t find the answer you’re looking for, you can submit a question for consideration.

Our Ask CFPB database currently contains more than 350 questions and answers, primarily focused on credit cards and mortgages. In the coming months, the CFPB will continue to build the database to answer questions about a range of financial products and services, including student loans, auto loans, checking and savings accounts, and prepaid cards.

So visit consumerfinance.gov/askcfpb, take a look, and let us know what you think!

So, How Do We Put Elizabeth Warren’s Calendar Online?

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One of the most popular features on this site is an interactive copy of Elizabeth Warren’s calendar, which includes an RSS feed and the raw calendar data. We think it is already the richest, most detailed leadership calendar that a .gov web site has offered to date, and we hope to make it even better. Today, we want to share a bit of the work that goes into creating and updating this tool.

The calendar was a high priority for the web site launch. The question wasn’t if we would provide Professor Warren’s full calendar, but how. We figured the effort would be smooth sailing from there.

We were wrong. We learned very quickly why interactive leadership calendars are rare: they’re hard. Getting this calendar from Professor Warren’s computer to the web takes a lot of planning, technical work, and ongoing maintenance.

The calendar Professor Warren uses on a day-to-day basis is maintained in a desktop application. Fortunately, that application lets you save a calendar as an .ics file, a standard calendar format that many applications can interpret. (A key component of openness is using open, cross-compatible data formats when possible.) At the end of every month, we save a copy of that month’s events as an .ics file. That lets us work with the calendar without altering the original.

A sample redacted calendar event.

A sample redacted calendar event.

The next step is the redaction process under the Freedom of Information Act. Any given month contains several events with information that may be personal or pre-decisional. For example, if Professor Warren interviews a job candidate or has dinner at someone’s home, we must remove the candidate’s name or the address of the home. Such redactions are noted on the calendar as “REDACTED”. Clicking on the event will give you more information about the nature of the deleted information.

We save the redactions back to the source file, a step that is much harder than it sounds. This way, the modified file can be moved to an internal testing, or “staging,” version of our web site. This test is the most labor-intensive task of the whole process. We triple-check that the information we’re about to put online contains no personal information. We can’t be certain unless we check the raw source file; combing through that metadata is quite a chore. To give you an idea of what we’re looking through, the image below is an example of what that data looks like.

A sample of Professor Warren's calendar metadata.

A sample of Professor Warren’s calendar metadata.

Going through this process just once was enough to give us a new appreciation for open government projects. This is painstaking work, and it took us weeks to figure out the process. Each cycle has taught us lessons that streamline the workflow, cutting the process down and increasing our efficiency.

Yesterday, we added February’s calendar to the December and January calendars we posted earlier. We have also back-filled the calendar with October’s and November’s events. We hope the calendar can serve as a starting point for more open government initiatives as we continue building this consumer bureau.