The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's ombudsman has released its first annual report.
The Bureau's Ombudsman office was established as part of the Dodd-Frank Act in December 2011. The office, headed by Wendy Kamenshine, advocates for a fair process as between consumers, the providers of consumer financial products and services, and the CFPB. In addition, the Ombudsman tracks issues raised in inquiries to highlight trends and make recommendations to the CFPB.
In the nearly 10 months since the CFPB Ombudsman opened, it received 775 inquiries. Over 80 percent of those inquiries were consumer questions or issues regarding the processes, services, products, or entities under the CFPB's jurisdiction.
Consumers requested clarification from the Ombudsman about the CFPB's consumer complaint process. Approximately 40 percent of the issues reflected a need for more understanding of the process. Some of the consumer questions included: the timing for each part of the process; what takes place at each step; why a complaint is considered a duplicate to a complaint previously submitted; and why the CFPB cannot assist on certain issues.
The Ombudsman recommended that the CFPB give more information to consumers about the complaint process and answer questions through multiple channels of communication. In addition, the Ombudsman said the CFPB needs to make it clear what it can and can't do to assist consumers, as well as which companies are accepting complaints from the CFPB.
The public can reach the CFPB Ombudsman by email (CFPBOmbudsman@cfpb.gov), by calling (855) 830-7880, or by fax at (202) 435-7888.