The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently published its first Semi-Annual Report under the leadership of new Director Kathleen Kraninger. The report to Congress outlines actions of the Bureau (supervisory, enforcement, and regulatory) from April 1, 2018, through September 30, 2018, which fell under Acting Director Mick Mulvaney, as Director Kraninger was not confirmed until December 2018.
Highlights from this report include:
- Message from the Director: Primary responsibilities of the CFPB are to (1) protect consumers and (2) supervise financial entities to ensure they comply with the law; the CFPB will “vigorously and even-handedly enforce the law” while ensuring that financial institutions should compete on a level playing field.
- Upcoming Initiatives/Action: a listening tour around the country and reviewing the operations of the CFPB, including at regional offices with examiners; examining the effects of rules and regulations, promoting financial education, monitoring and encouraging innovation in financial technologies, and remaining watchful for financial scams targeting seniors and other consumers; and, Pre-Rule Activity on Proposed Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Loans.
- Consumer Complaints: Credit or consumer reporting was the highest of consumer complaints, reaching 37 percent, while debt collection was second at 25 percent. Complaints about mortgages ranked in at only 10 percent of all complaints submitted - a decrease from years past. Complaints about student loans registered 3 percent of all complaints.
- Shopping for Financial Services: The report highlighted two problems faced by consumers in shopping for financial services, including “credit invisibility” (i.e. individuals who lack a credit record) and mortgage shopping. The CFPB has been collecting data on “credit invisibles” that lack or have an incomplete credit record (i.e. demographics) in an effort to help these individuals establish a credit record and gain access to financial products and services. The CFPB also highlighted research on mortgage shopping that found if borrowers are encouraged to comparison shop, there may be reduced costs for consumers’ mortgages and increased knowledge of the mortgage market.
NAR will continue to follow and work with the CFPB on actions affecting consumers, REALTORS®, and the broader industry.