Tomorrow marks the 12th anniversary of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Since 2011, the CFPB has been the voice of the consumer in financial regulation.
Here’s a look at some of the CFPB’s achievements, by the numbers:
- $17.5 billion – The amount of money the CFPB has put back in Americans’ pockets in the form of monetary compensation, principal reductions, canceled debts, and other consumer relief resulting from CFPB enforcement and supervision work
- $4 billion – The amount of money CFPB has imposed in civil money penalties on companies and individuals that violate the law. This money is deposited into the victims relief fund which provides compensation to people who have been harmed by violations of federal consumer financial protection law
- 200 million – The estimated number of consumer accounts eligible to receive financial relief from the CFPB’s enforcement and supervision work
- $175 million – The amount of monetary relief resulting from 39 public enforcement actions that involved harm to servicemembers and veterans
- 50.1 million – The number of users who have accessed answers to hundreds of common financial questions via the CFPB’s Ask CFPB database
- 4 million – The number of consumer complaints the CFPB has sent to companies for response on behalf of consumers. Our public Consumer Complaint Database has published over 3.8 million of those
- 3,000 – The average number of complaints the CFPB handles each day
- 180 – The number of languages that consumers can use to file a complaint
The CFPB today
Our economy and our consumer finance markets are in transition, out of a pandemic and further into the digital era. Over the past few years, the CFPB has continued to deliver tangible results for the public, ensuring that consumers are protected, while preparing for the future as tech giants and artificial intelligence reshape the industry.
Cracking down on repeat offenders.
- Earlier this month, we took action against Bank of America for double-dipping on non-sufficient fund fees, opening unauthorized consumer financial accounts, and making misleading statements regarding certain credit card rewards. Bank of America will pay more than $100 million to harmed customers and $90 million to the CFPB’s victims relief fund.
- In December 2022, we ordered Wells Fargo to return more than $2 billion to harmed consumers and pay a $1.7 billion fine after violating laws in several of its product lines – including auto loans and mortgages.
- We filed an enforcement action alleging that TransUnion, a national credit reporting company, along with two of its subsidiaries and its longtime executive, violated a 2017 law enforcement order and additional consumer financial protection laws including continuing unlawful behavior, disregarding the order’s requirements, and continuing to employ deceptive digital dark patterns to profit from customers.
Launching efforts to save Americans billions in junk fees.
- We issued a public inquiry on junk fees, resulting in tens of thousands of people sharing their stories and complaints about unnecessary and potentially illegal fees in consumer financial services.
- We proposed a rule to curb excessive credit card late fees that cost American families about $12 billion each year. The proposed rule would reduce the amount banks could charge for late payments to $8 in most cases, which could cut the amount Americans spend on late fees by $9 billion a year.
- We issued guidance explaining that surprise overdraft fees and surprise depositor fees may be unfair and unlawful under existing law.
- We took action to affirm that federal law often prohibits debt collectors from charging “pay-to-pay” fees.
Ensuring that the use of advanced technology in finance abides by existing consumer protection laws.
- Alongside other federal financial regulators, we are working to ensure that real estate valuations are fair and accurate, including when developed using algorithms or automated models. In June 2023, along with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Federal Reserve, National Credit Union Administration, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and Federal Housing Finance Agency, we requested public comment on a proposed rule designed to ensure the credibility and integrity of these models.
- We initiated a rulemaking to spur competition by strengthening consumers’ access to, and control over, their financial data. Under the options being considered for a personal financial data rights rule, consumers could more easily and safely walk away from companies offering bad products and poor service and move towards companies competing for their business with alternate or innovative products and services.
- We issued a series of orders to collect information on the business practices of large technology companies operating payments systems in the United States. The information may shed light on potentially anticompetitive practices, such as restrictive access policies, and help us better understand how companies ensure that consumer data is protected.
- Last month, we released an issue spotlight on the expansive adoption and use of chatbots by financial institutions. Banks have turned to chatbots as a cheaper alternative to human customer service, but Americans often can’t get answers to their more complicated questions. The spotlight highlighted common consumer complaints about not being able to reach a human and emphasized that financial institutions must still comply with their legal obligations when using chatbot technologies.
Your voices drive our work
The stories and experiences of American families and consumers help the CFPB identify emerging issues and create a fairer marketplace.
Tell us your story about a financial product or service, whether your experience is good or bad.
Do you have a problem with a financial product or service that you want the company to respond to? Submit a complaint and we will forward it to the company and work to get you a response.
We strive to help consumer finance markets work by making rules more effective, by consistently and fairly enforcing those rules, and by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives. This next year, and for many more to come, we will continue our work to protect the American people.