Today we are releasing the results of our study and we are providing our arbitration report to Congress as the law requires us to do. As far as we are aware, this is the most comprehensive empirical study of consumer financial arbitration ever conducted. It is not possible in the space of a few minutes to do justice to the depth and richness of the Consumer Bureau’s report. But I want to discuss a few key findings that shed light on some of the major questions that have been much debated by various stakeholders.
Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released preliminary research on the use of arbitration clauses in connection with consumer financial products and services. The research indicates that arbitration clauses are commonly used by large banks in credit card and checking account agreements and that roughly 9 out of 10 clauses allow banks to prevent consumers from participating in class actions. The research also shows that while tens of millions of consumers are subject to arbitration clauses in the markets the CFPB studied, on average, consumers filed 300 disputes in these markets each year between 2010 and 2012 with the leading arbitration association.
Thank you for joining us here today in Dallas. Every month or so we try to hold an event outside of Washington, D.C., with the purpose of learning first-hand about how consumer financial products and services are affecting people around the country. Today, we are here to talk about arbitration, which is a way to resolve disputes outside of the court system. Rather than take the issue before a judge and, perhaps a jury, the two parties turn to a third party, known as an arbitrator, to decide the dispute.
Today the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) launched a public inquiry into how consumers and financial services companies are affected by arbitration and arbitration clauses.