CFPB Now Accepting Mortgage Complaints from Consumers

By: Kathryn M. Baugher

On December 1, 2011, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau began accepting mortgage complaints from consumers through the agency’s home page. This development follows the Bureau’s October announcement that it would be expanding the coverage of its consumer complaint portal to include products such as mortgages and student loans. Consumers have been able to submit credit card complaints through the Bureau’s web site since last July.

When a consumer submits a mortgage complaint through the Bureau’s web site, the consumer must describe what happened and what he or she thinks would be a fair resolution to the issue. Choosing from a list of options, the consumer must also note the type of mortgage involved (for example, “conventional fixed mortgage,” “FHA mortgage,” or “home equity loan or line of credit”) and the part of the mortgage process involved (options include “applying for the loan,” “making payments,” and “problems when you are unable to pay”). The consumer has the option of noting whether he or she believes discrimination was involved. After a consumer submits a complaint through the site, the Bureau will forward the complaint to the company that is the subject of the complaint, and the company is expected to work with the consumer to resolve the complaint. The Bureau will provide the consumer with a tracking number and will keep the consumer updated on the status of the complaint.

Public reporting of mortgage complaint data may not be far behind. On November 30, 2011, the Bureau released its first periodic report on credit card complaints and asked for comment on a proposal to make the “non-narrative” portions of credit card complaints accessible to the public in a searchable database. It remains to be seen whether the Bureau will take a similar approach with respect to mortgage complaints.

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