The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said on Thursday (July 14) that it had marked its fifth anniversary by outlining five ways it has made a difference in financial oversight on behalf of consumers.
The dollar tally thus far: The bureau said that it has garnered $11.7 billion in relief for more than 27 million consumers who have been harmed by illegal predatory practices, with an eye on supervising financial firms. The key gains have come against credit card companies, as they have been found liable for deceptive marketing and billing practices and have charged and enrolled consumers for additional products and services to which those consumers did not agree. Banks were found harming consumers with overdraft fees, and payday lenders less than made the grade.
Cumulatively, the agency said it has handled more than 1 million consumer complaints, across credit cards, credit reports, prepaid cards and bank accounts.
The CFPB also said it has been a proponent of education to “know before you owe,” as consumers should know and refer to language that is clear and precise about just what responsibilities they are taking on their shoulders in terms of debt. The financial aid shopping sheet, by way of example, has been used to help students understand the ramifications of borrowing at more than 3,400 colleges.
As for mortgages, said the CFPB, initiatives, including that the “ability to repay” be required to be verified by lenders, has helped both sides of the transaction, with additional protections in place should borrowers fall behind on their payments.