What is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau?
The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was established in response to the 2008 financial crisis and resulting economic recession. The CFPB was created by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and began operation in 2011. Its stated mission is as follows:
The central mission of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is to make markets for consumer financial products and services work for Americans—whether they are applying for a mortgage, choosing among credit cards, or using any number of other consumer financial products.
The CFPB is an independent bureau funded by the Federal Reserve, tasked with drafting and enforcing regulations for banks, equity markets, credit unions, debt collectors, mortgage lenders, and other entities offering financial goods and services.
Functions and Responsibilities of the CFPB
Essentially, the CFPB is a watchdog agency tasked with protecting consumers from unscrupulous lenders and other financial institutions. While the bureau has some unique responsibilities, the CFPB also will assume existing duties once carried out by the Federal Trade Commission and other government agencies.
The bureau performs the following functions:
- Enforce federal anti-discrimination laws with respect to consumer finance
- Make rules, supervise, and enforce federal consumer financial protection laws
- Alert consumers to possible risks in financial markets
- Place restrictions on abusive, deceptive or otherwise unfair practices
- Conduct research of consumer behavior
- Investigate consumer complaints
- Educate consumers about finance
How to Submit a Complaint with the CFPB
If you suspect a financial institution is practicing deception, fraud or otherwise not operating in a fair and transparent manner (at least in accordance to established laws), you may file a complaint with the CFPB.
The best way to do this is through the complaint section of the CFPB's Website. You will be asked to select either mortgage; credit card; bank account or service; vehicle loan or consumer loan; or student loan. After you make your selection, you will be guiding through a series of questions.