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CFPB Ombudsman’s Office 2021 Annual Report

The Ombudsman’s Office annual report, which I delivered to the Director, is available today on our webpage. December also marks the Ombudsman’s Office’s tenth anniversary. We look forward to celebrating this milestone in the coming year. Our office is an independent, impartial, and confidential resource that assists consumers, financial entities, consumer or trade groups, and others in informally resolving process issues with the CFPB.

This year, we frequently called upon our facilitation tool to assist in the resolution of issues pertaining to cross-Bureau processes that may support the CFPB’s connection to the public, such as in our two systemic reviews: processes related to certain communications the CFPB receives from the public and connecting with the CFPB through publicly provided contact points. To follow up on one of our recommendations, the CFPB recently updated its Contact Us webpage.

A new section in our report, the Ombudsman in Brief, also has two topics that pertain to cross-Bureau processes – our observations about the Bureau’s choice and usage of words in referencing certain stakeholder communities and our continued work around how the CFPB assists small business owners.

The Demonstrating the Ombudsman in Practice section provides short examples from this year that illustrate the various ways we can assist on topics, such as sharing about consumer challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, facilitating a supervised entity’s communication with the CFPB, and offering feedback and suggestions on draft CFPB materials.

We also hosted an Ombudsman Forum, this time in a virtual format, with national and regional organizations that assist consumers in the CFPB’s Northeast region. During this multi-day lunchtime series, we facilitated discussions on process topics, such as Racial and Economic Equity: Reflections, projections, and suggestions for processes supporting the Bureau’s priority and CFPB Inclusive Engagement: Reaching, recognizing, and connecting with specific consumer communities.

Again, this year, our report shares about individual inquiries received by our office, as well as the associated analysis and data. We also include an update on our post-examination survey of supervised entities and the next steps to launch the program in FY2022. As we prepare for this launch, we provide an update on one of our previous systemic reviews regarding information the CFPB provides during and at the end of examinations.

Today we also would like to share with you our updated FAQs which include additional information on contacting our office. As we begin to celebrate our tenth anniversary as a resource to the CFPB and the public, we look forward to hearing from you and to marking this occasion as advocates for fair process in consumer financial protection.

Wendy Kamenshine is the Ombudsman for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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