Frequently asked questions about the CFPB Ombudsman
An ombudsman provides an alternate, informal way to resolve issues. Many organizations, both government and private, have an ombudsman. The CFPB Ombudsman’s Office was established by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (Dodd-Frank Act), which created the CFPB.
The CFPB Ombudsman assists in the resolution of individual and systemic process issues that a consumer, financial entity, consumer or trade group, or anyone else may have with the CFPB by advocating for a fair process. In general, the CFPB Ombudsman analyzes and learns about all perspectives on a process issue and may:
- Review the applicable laws, regulations, policy, and data to inform our work
- Talk with the individual and/or stakeholders involved
- Meet with CFPB officials
Upon completion of that review and to assist, the CFPB Ombudsman can:
- Facilitate discussions,
- Brainstorm and evaluate options and resources,
- Share independent analyses,
- Offer an impartial perspective,
- Ensure confidentiality of someone’s identity, with few exceptions
- Engage in shuttle diplomacy, and
- Provide recommendations, among other options
The Ombudsman does not:
- Address matters already in litigation
- Delay any statutory, regulatory, or other CFPB deadlines
- Make decisions or legal determinations for the CFPB, or provide legal advice or assistance
- Serve as a formal office of legal notice for the CFPB
- Address internal human resources matters
A consumer, financial entity, consumer or trade group, or anyone else who interfaces with the CFPB may contact the CFPB Ombudsman.
Use the CFPB Ombudsman’s Office when you have not had success with the existing CFPB avenues, such as on the CFPB’s Contact Us webpage, for addressing your CFPB process concerns. You may use the CFPB Ombudsman’s Office to try and achieve an informal resolution, or because you want to keep your concerns confidential.
You’re welcome to reach out to us at any time, but we ask you to try the existing CFPB avenues for resolution first.
If your CFPB process concern is not resolved through those regular avenues, we look forward to hearing from you.
For individual consumer complaints submitted to the CFPB, we do not serve as an appeal process, but review whether the CFPB is following its own processes and procedures as described here. Also, we do not assist in resolving issues as between consumers and financial entities.
The CFPB Ombudsman’s Office does not provide numbers for inquiries to our office. If you have a document with an “OMB” number, this does not pertain to our office.
Yes, the Ombudsman can provide interpretation and translation services in additional languages, including American Sign Language (ASL), as requested.
Use of the CFPB Ombudsman’s Office is entirely voluntary and free of charge.
The CFPB Ombudsman’s Office regularly conducts our own independent outreach to share about our resources.
If you’d like the CFPB Ombudsman’s Office to join you for a meeting or conference to share about our role, send an email to CFPBOmbudsman@cfpb.gov or give us a call at (855) 830-7880.
Wendy Kamenshine is the CFPB Ombudsman, and she and her team look forward to assisting you.