It’s only one month old, but glitches have already arisen within the complaint response system of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The consumer complaint system applies to the 111 banks with assets exceeding $10 billion.
Implemented on July 21 to comply with the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the system is currently in place to field complaints from consumers regarding credit cards, but will eventually be expanded to encompassgrievances over financial services as well. Prior to July 21, any consumer complaints about banking institutions were fielded by an assortment of agencies which included the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Company and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). Now, those all agencies refer any complaints to the CFPB.
According to the Bloomberg website, some banks experienced a dip in the volume of complaints as the bureau’s system failed to work properly, said Richard Hunt, the head of the Consumer Bankers Association. The banks were concerned they might be blamed for unanswered queries, he said.
“If you’re a bank, you don’t know there has been a complaint unless the CFPB tells you,” Hunt said in an interview, as reported by Bloomberg.
A spokeswoman for the problem bureau, Jen Howard said, according to Bloomberg, said some card issuers did not receive complaints filed through the agency’s website because of “browser compatibility issues.”
She also indicated that the agency will resolve the issue “within a matter of weeks.” As the problem is fixed, the banks should expect to experience a “one-time increase” in complaints referred via the consumer bureau. Howard didn’t indicate how many complaints have been held up due to the technical setback.
Until the CARD act took effect in 2010, credit cards were the cause of the majority of complaints filed with the OCC. In fact, Bloomberg accounts that in 2009, consumers registered 26,380 complaints on credit cards, which is 37 percent of the total complaints filed, as per to the OCC’s website.
In 2010, as changes mandated by the CARD Act of 2009 took effect and the mortgage crisis gained momentum, the number of credit card-related complaints dropped to 14,715 while inquiries pertaining to mortgages reached 38,034.
A spokesman for the OCC, Bryan Hubbard, said to Bloomberg that the consumer bureau plans to take over complaints on all financial products, not only credit cards, by March of 2012.