New Federal Agency Protects Consumers | Haines & Krieger

On July 21, 2011, the United States Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) quietly opened its doors for business. Most Americans do not know about this new agency; however the CFPB is a powerful ally for consumers and represents an important step in restoring balance between big business and the consumer. The CFPB is a federal agency tasked with the primary responsibility for regulating consumer protections in the United States.

The CFPB was born from the financial turmoil that our country has recently witnessed, and is charged with promoting “fairness and transparency for mortgages, credit cards, and other consumer financial products and services.” According to the CFPB website, “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 point of the CFPB is to have a central agency serve as a watchdog over consumer financial bureaus such as banks, credit unions, securities firms, payday lenders, mortgage-servicing operations, foreclosure relief services, debt collectors and other financial companies. The CFPB creates and enforces bank rules, conducts bank examinations, monitors and reports on financial markets, and collects and tracks consumer complaints. These tasks were previously divided among various federal agencies.

According to its new director, former Ohio attorney general Richard Cordray, the immediate concerns for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are mortgages, credit cards and student loans. The CFPB website at http://www.consumerfinance.gov/ provides a wealth of consumer financial information. The site also takes complaints regarding credit card companies on issues such as unfair practices such as hidden fees, interest rate changes, payment increases or other issues.

If you are in financial distress, consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney and discuss how the law and your government can help you. There are many consumer protections available under the federal and state laws; some of the most powerful are part of the federal Bankruptcy Code. Call today and get the help you need.