WASHINGTON, July 16 The U.S. consumer finance
watchdog on Wednesday proposed publishing on its website
individuals' stories about bad experiences with credit cards,
student loans and other financial services, prompting quick
pushback from banks.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau already posts basic
details of consumer complaints about an array of products. It
also passes the information along to the financial firms and
provides updates when the issues are resolved.
Now, the agency wants to include customers' full
explanations of what happened.
"The narrative supplies vital information about why the
consumer believes they were harmed, and how the problem has
affected the consumer's life," CFPB Director Richard Cordray
The CFPB said including the narrative in its database would
provide more information, such as whether the consumer faced
extra fees, and help users spot trends with companies or in
The database would not include personal information, and
borrowers would have to agree to share their stories. Companies
featured in the complaints would have an opportunity to respond.
Banks and other financial service providers have criticized
the complaint database, which they say unfairly hurts firms'
"Banks have an obligation to their customers to maintain the
confidentiality of their information, making it virtually
impossible for a bank to offer a complete response to these
narratives," Richard Hunt, chief executive of the Consumer
Bankers Association, said in a statement on Wednesday.
Financial firms will have 30 days to comment on the CFPB's
proposed changes to its database. To date, the bureau has
handled more than 400,000 consumer complaints.
(Reporting by Emily Stephenson; Editing by Dan Grebler)