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The State of the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau

Thanks to such financial catastrophes as Enron, the recent real estate market collapse, and the overall lack of consumer confidence, Americans have cried out for a voice in the drowning noise of big business and the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act has answered the call.Officially named the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, it called for the formation of an entirely unprecedented Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to do just that; protect consumers.

 

 

Thanks to such financial catastrophes as Enron, the recent real estate market collapse, and the overall lack of consumer confidence, Americans have cried out for a voice in the drowning noise of big business and the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act has answered the call.Officially named the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, it called for the formation of an entirely unprecedented Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to do just that; protect consumers.

 

The Bureau officially opened July 21st, 2011 under supervision of the temporary Director, Elizabeth Warren.The exact responsibilities, jurisdictions and ability to enforce remain slightly foggy and will likely remain so for the time being. Politicians are currently struggling to nominate the permanent Director of the Bureau and until a consensus is reached, largely political decisions will likely remain unresolved.There are four specific areas that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has vowed unequivocally to monitor:

 

 

1.Credit Scores – Upon first glance of studies begun to set a baseline for consumer information has found that the credit reports available for purchase are widely different than credit reports lenders are able to view.The Bureau plans to continue research into this odd discrepancy between the two versions of reports.

 

2.Credit Card Companies – On this front the Bureau will act as a go-between to field complaints from consumers on their website at consumerfinance.gov or via phone at 1-855-411-2372.All complaints will be forwarded to its respective companies to hopefully be handled internally.From there the Bureau will monitor progress or resolution of the complaints as well as track companies and practices, whether legal or not to determine if credit card companies are practicing abusive tactics.

 

3.Mortgage Disclosures – One of the first acts of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency was to put in place new and easier to read disclosures, the Federal Truth-in-Lending- Act (TIL) Disclosure and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act Good Faith Estimate (RESPA) Disclosure.These disclosures are aimed to help clarify the mortgage related fees as well as hold accountable loan originators among other things.The Bureau is working on further condensing and clarifying disclosures, to be launched around July 2012.

 

4.Mortgage Servicing – This facet of the Bureau is working to hold the mortgage industry accountable for its obligations as a servicing company. This is in response to the overwhelming complaints of needless foreclosure proceedings as well as negligent customer service practices by mortgage companies.

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