As part of its large-scale effort to better protect consumers from deceptive and misleading practices from a wide variety of bank and nonbank financial institutions, the federal watchdog agency tasked with regulating the industry has been collecting a massive amount of data in recent months.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is now going about the process of collecting as much information from banks and other entities as it can, particularly pertaining to borrowers’ dealings with these companies, according to a report from Bloomberg Businessweek.
For instance, it recently paid Experian, CoreLogic, and other data compiling companies $10 million for information on auto loans, payday lending and mortgages, and has also requested similar information on credit cards and other such products from a number of major lenders and banks.
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“Within the next year, [the] CFPB will be the best place for consumer finance data,” Sendhil Mullainathan, the consumer bureau’s assistant director for research, told the news site.
These efforts have been met with some objection by the financial institutions asked to turn over the data in the course of regulatory oversight, because of the large amount of value they place upon it, the report said. A number of federal lawmakers have also expressed concerns about what such information compiling initiatives could mean for consumers and their privacy, with a few top Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee in particular having misgivings about the moves.
For its part, the CFPB says these efforts will include data that is largely anonymized — as is required by federal law — so that no information about the people involved can be gleaned from it, the report said. The intent is that consumers will be able to comb through this information and determine more about their options related to financial products than they can currently, which in turn might help them to find the best possible choices for them and their unique situations. However, it has not yet decided on exactly how it will make the massive amounts of data public, or whether it will do so at all.
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The CFPB has been improving safeguards for consumers’ finances since it gained regulatory power a few years ago, including bringing more types of institutions under its purview as a means of better protecting people from problems related to a broader number of products.