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We’re listening

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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.

  • Greg Moone

    After at the Nandina & Jasmine disclosure statements, I’d like to suggest that an explanation or, footnote, would be helpful in the Comparisons section of the disclosure. If the disclosure is for an ARM that may have an adjustment in less than 5 years, an explanation about how the values are calculated “In 5 Years” section of the Comparison. In the Nandina example it has already been disclosed that the rate and payments may change, yet there is a fixed value “In the 5 Years” section without a note explaining that this assumes the worst case. 

    Two points on the APR:
    1) The disclosed APR is calculated using an assumption that differs from the line directly above it. (assuming worst case adjustments for calculating the “In 5 Years” values and, using the current value on the COFI as a fixed rate when calculating the APR).
    2) Calculating the APR using the current COFI value, which is very close to its all-time low, without reference to its historical average, seems deceptive.    

    One other thing that would answer a question that many consumers may have is to note when the mortgage insurance is scheduled to be removed.

    I know that one of the goals of this disclosure is to help simplify a complicated transaction so that comparisons can be made between competing offers but; the information, as disclosed in the Nandina example, could make a consumer feel that they are armed with sufficient information to make an informed decision. My opinion is that the information, as presented, is misleading.                                                                                                                                                                       

  • Jrwells

    Are more listening sessions scheduled??  If so, where would I find the schedule??

  • http://www.airambulancenetwork.com/ Kirk Pacheco

    Many issues in the financial industry are quite controversial to say the least. I’m glad you’re holding listening sessions so the common man’s voice can be heard.

  • Steven

    Just tried using a bank website to find out the details about my account, and other accounts at the same bank that might save me money.  The bank does not tell me, in ways I can understand, how to avoid the bank’s fees.

    Please pass a rule requiring banks to display on their websites – in the customers area, if not to the public – IN VERY SIMPLE ENGLISH – what fees I get charged, and what generates those fees – or – what will prevent fees. 

    For example, my bank has no fees on my account IF there are 5 transactions in a month – BUT not just any transaction will do, they must be specific types of transactions.  The rule should be that the bank has to list those transactions – preferably bullet-pointed and in large type and in simple language.

  • http://www.OurBroker.com Peter G. Miller

    Where is the search box for this page?

    Why would you not have a search box on every page, at the top?

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