When the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) officially opens its doors Thursday, the new agency will be ready to field complaints about credit cards – but not mortgages or servicing performance.
The CFPB, in a bureau publication called "Building the CFBP” tells the general public that it’s investing in “21st century information technology” to build an infrastructure to field, respond, and monitor consumer complaints.
It will be "easy to use and secure" and consumers can submit complaints by internet, mail, fax or by calling (toll free) CFPB's call center, the agency says. "For credit card complaints, the consumer agency is creating a web-based system that allows card issuers to log on, and respond to complaints online. Eventually this system is expected to be used by providers of other financial products."
In anticipation that distressed homeowners will soon telephone the CFPB, the bureau plans to connect those callers with a housing counselor via the Homeowner's HOPE Hotline, which is funded by the Treasury Department.
Until its new IT system can handle complaints about mortgage lenders and servicers, CFPB will route those complaints to prudential regulators or other federal banking agencies.
Going forward, consumer complaints will be used to detect abusive financial products and practices. "These complaints and consumer inquiries will help the CFPB identify areas of concern and help CFPB in its supervision and other responsibilities,” the agency says.