DC Bureau

Record number of consumer financial protection complaints during pandemic

Washington D.C.

WASHINGTON, DC (NEXSTAR) — Americans have filed a record number of complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau during the pandemic.

The thousands of reports include issues with deferred student loan and mortgage payments.

CFPB Director Kathleen Kraninger testified at a House Financial Services Committee hearing Thursday about her department’s handling of these complaints.

The committee chair, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-CA, made it clear she wants Kraninger to resign.

“I would like to welcome Director Kraninger to what I hope will be her last appearance before this committee,” Waters said as she opened the hearing.

Waters said Kraninger’s response to more than 14,000 complaints has been long wait times, inconsistent information and a lack of follow up.

“Your actions are a betrayal of the consumers,” Waters said.

Kraninger argued the CFPB is getting the job done. She told the committee her department has reviewed hundreds of lenders, and consumers are getting answers to their complaints in about nine days.

“Our consumer contact center and our online portal have operated efficiently and effectively throughout the pandemic,” Kraninger said.

However, Kraninger told lawmakers much of the CFPB’s work addressing company violations is confidential.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-MO, wants visibility into what’s happening in minority communities.

“I’m concerned about minority consumers who are frankly hemorrhaging right now and are at heightened risk of attack by financial predators,” Cleaver said.

Kraninger said her department has done outreach to minorities and is working to change certain rules, like how Americans qualify for a mortgage loan. But Rep. French Hill, R-AR, wants to make sure the CFPB moves carefully.

“A lot of us are concerned about will this rule approach… lead us down a road toward weaker credit underwriting,” Hill said.

Many lawmakers noted how the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled the current structure of the CFPB is unconstitutional.

To make the department less political, Congress is working to change the leadership from one director to a commission. Kraninger said she would help with the transition.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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