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CFPB Complaints Get Extra Protection From Lawmakers

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The federal watchdog agency charged with helping to ensure that consumers have all the financial protections they need now encourages Americans to submit complaints about difficulties they’ve had, and a new law passed by the Senate ensures that key account details for these consumers will remain confidential.

The U.S. Senate recently passed a law, known as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Privilege Bill, which helps to protect the sensitive information for Americans who submit complaints to the CFPB, according to a report from the office of U.S. Senator Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican who serves on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.

“I’m glad the CFPB privilege issue has been resolved, and I hope that this finally opens the door to a more rational discussion about what additional changes, both technical and more substantive, are needed to Dodd-Frank,” said Corker, an original co-sponsor of the bill.

Currently, there are numerous other federal agencies that had these consumer privacy protections in place, but the new bill, which is expected to be signed into law soon, simply adds the CFPB to the list, according to a separate report from the law firm Ballard Spahr. It also formally identifies the CFPB as a federal regulatory agency to which the same privacy protections enjoyed by other federal and state banking organizations are now applied. The bill amended the existing Federal Deposit Insurance Act, and was passed in the U.S. House of Representatives before it moved on to the Senate.

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The CFPB has been soliciting complaints about a number of different account types and financial documents, ranging from credit card and mortgage disputes to issues with incorrect information being listed on credit reports. But in doing so, the information about consumers’ accounts could also have been accessed in some cases. Fortunately for those who voice concerns to the CFPB, sensitive account and personally identifying data is now afforded significantly more protection under the law.

Image: jacqueline.poggi, via Flickr

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