Consumer bureau out with first list of complaints

Data of complaints by issue from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's Consumer Complaint Database.

Kai Ryssdal: There was a little bit of talk at that House Financial Services Committee hearing today, the one JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon was testifying at, about financial regulations and the Dodd-Frank reform bill.

As happens, one of the best known parts of that law hit a milestone today. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is out with its first list of complaints about credit card companies. It's not a long list yet; just 137 complaints in the database.

Still, we sent Marketplace's John Dimsdale off this morning to check it out.


John Dimsdale: The database out today is pretty sparse: The zip code the complaint came from, the credit card company it’s against and what the resolution is.

I looked at the website with Scott Pluta, who’s in charge of consumer response at the CFPB.

Scott Pluta:  In this age of data and transparency, the natural conclusion is to provide that information to the marketplace. The more information that a marketplace has the better decisions are made at consumer level. 

Dimsdale: So far it seems to be a little skimpy. But you're saying there will be more data coming? 

Pluta: So far its very skimpy, to use a technical term. This is the beta version. But what you can see over time is, there are certain institutions that don’t provide timely responses. There are certain institutions that provide higher rates of resolution than others. These are some of the things consumers can look at and reporters and researchers. And they can draw conclusions from that.

Pluta says third-party data crunchers are already using the CFPB’s information to put together models that compare the number and types of complaints among credit card companies. He anticipates there will even be apps for mobile phones. And the protection bureau is planning more databases in the future, for complaints about mortgages, bank accounts and student loans. 

In Washington, I'm John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

About the author

As head of Marketplace’s Washington, D.C. bureau, John Dimsdale provides insightful commentary on the intersection of government and money for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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