New Comptroller Stringer Report: The Trump Administration’s Attacks on Consumer Protections will Hurt New Yorkers
April 7, 2017
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has addressed more than 23,700 complaints from the five boroughs over past five years
Efforts to undermine the CFPB’s independence and gut its budget would harm New York consumers, Comptroller’s analysis shows
(New York, NY) — Today, New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer issued a report outlining how the efforts of the Trump Administration and Republicans in Congress to undermine the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will harm consumers across New York City — making them more vulnerable to financial abuse perpetrated by various financial institutions, including consumer banks, student loan servicers, and credit card companies. Established by the Dodd-Frank bill after the 2008 Financial Crisis, the CFPB is the only federal agency that serves as a watchdog for consumers purchasing financial products and services. Since it was founded in 2011, the CFPB has returned almost $12 billion to 29 million Americans in the form of reimbursements, canceled debts, principal reductions, and other forms of relief.
The White House recently signaled its intentions after the Justice Department declined to support the CFPB in a case challenging the agency’s structure and independence. The Justice Department, along with congressional Republicans, argue that the President should be able to remove the agency’s independent director at will, a move which would potentially compromise the CFPB’s independence from partisan politics and the influence of large corporations.
“The CFPB stands up for Main Street Americans – it’s like a cop on the beat protecting consumers,” Comptroller Scott M. Stringer said. “Since 2008, the CFPB has helped more than 23,000 New Yorkers get a fair shake when pressing their complaints and concerns against big corporations. If the CFPB’s independence is challenged by Congress or the Trump Administration, New Yorkers will be left facing unfair, abusive, and deceptive financial practices without the help of a critical advocate.”
Consumers can enlist the CFPB’s help in resolving issues around common financial products like mortgages, student loans, credit cards, checking accounts, or credit reports. The CFPB works directly with financial companies to resolve consumers’ concerns and records the outcome of cases in a public database of consumer complaints. Often, the CFPB is able to facilitate resolutions including monetary compensation or restitution for the consumer. Coupled with addressing consumer complaints, the agency supervises certain consumer lenders (including both traditional banks and non-banks), enforces violations of consumer finance laws, and issues new rules and regulations.
Comptroller Stringer’s report explores the more than 23,700 CFPB complaints that CFPB has investigated on behalf of New Yorkers, since December 1, 2011. The majority of complaints were made by residents in:
- Brooklyn – 6,774 complaints
- Queens – 6,493 complaints
- Manhattan – 6,199 complaints
- Bronx – 2,728 complaints
- Staten Island – 1,537 complaints
New York consumers have sought help on a variety of financial products. The majority of New Yorkers who need assistance from the CFPB — 21.6 percent — requested help on matters relating to their mortgages. In addition, other categories with a large number of complaints include credit reporting (19.4 percent), bank accounts and services (17.4 percent), credit cards (17.3 percent), and debt collection (16.8 percent).
Overall, the number of complaints made to the CFPB has risen in each of the last five years, growing from under 2,500 in 2012 to almost 7,000 in 2016. Between 2011 and January 2016, the number of complaints made by New Yorkers has risen 186 percent.
“In reversing course and opposing the CFPB, President Trump’s Justice Department is siding with large corporations who want to ignore the voices of consumers,” added Comptroller Stringer. “The CFPB’s record of protecting New York consumers argues strongly for its preservation.”