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CFPB to Financial Whistleblowers: Let’s Talk

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Do you work in the financial sector and is your company breaking consumer laws? The U.S. government’s new consumer financial watchdog would very much like you to tell them all about it.

The Consumer Financial Protection Agency announced Thursday that it’s inviting tips from whistleblowers on violations of Federal consumer protection laws.

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Financial sector whistleblowers have gotten primetime attention recently with a 60 Minutes investigation that revealed how former big bank employees’ warnings of systemic mortgage fraud went ignored.

Eileen Foster, a former senior executive with now-defunct mortgage giant Countrywide Financial said she saw company recycle bins filled with altered documents using signatures that had been cut and photocopied from other documents.

When asked just how extensive the fraud at Countrywide was, she said: “From what I saw, the types of things I saw … it appeared systemic. It wasn’t just one individual, or two or three individuals; it was branches of individuals, it was regions of individuals.”

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The CFPB also reminds would-be tipsters that the law protects them from employer retaliation. According to the Dodd-Frank Act, a “covered employee” can’t be discriminated against or fired if they refuse to violate consumer financial laws in the course of their job, if they tip off the government about the violation of laws, or testify or file a lawsuit regarding a potential violation. (This page on the Department of Labor’s website can help you figure out if these protections apply to you.)

The Bureau says informants can email them at whistleblower@cfpb.gov or call (855) 695-7974.

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Image: Adam Mayer, via Flickr.com

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