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Consumer financial beefs posted on fed site

U.S. consumers for the first time are using a federal database to publicize problems they’ve faced wrangling with banks and financial firms over mortgages, credit cards, debt collection and other issues. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Thursday went live with an updated online database that includes more than 7,700 narratives from homeowners, loan recipients and others who provided first-hand narratives detailing their frustrations.

“US Bank/US Bank Home Mortgage has been unwilling to work with me to modify the terms of my home loan,” an Illinois consumer wrote in one of the newly posted narratives. “I have consistently submitted all paperwork requested, all to no avail. They constantly lose the documents I send; send correspondence from all over the United States (oftentimes, not to me); no one can give me a status, stating instead that I am in underwriting.” The database, which does not disclose consumers’ identities, indicates the complaint cited in the narrative ultimately was closed with an explanation to the consumer. U.S. Bancorp declined to provide a public response to be posted with the narrative, the database shows.

The consumer narratives, the first submitted and posted under a controversial plan finalized in March, will help the consumer agency analyze and respond to financial trends that affect many Americans, said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Every complaint tells us what people are facing in the financial marketplace,” he said. “Publishing these consumer stories today is a historic milestone that we believe will lead to better outcomes for everyone.”

But Richard Hunt, president of the retail banking industry trade group Consumer Bankers Association, said he was “profoundly disappointed” with the online narrative posting. “In my opinion, the vast majority of banks will choose not to respond publicly, but will continue the long held tradition of speaking with their customers in confidence,” said Hunt, who called the CFPB action “simply a public shaming of banks.” The 3-year-old database currently contains more then 400,000 complaints submitted by consumers who are identified only by their U.S. Postal Service Zip codes. As of June 1, the CFPB said it had handled more than 627,000 complaints, with mortgages and debt collection the most frequent issues.