NerdWallet Report on Disturbing Gaps in CFPB Public Complaint Database

Here, by Brad Wolverton & Alex Richards. I don't want to quote too much, so here is an incomplete excerpt:

The federal watchdog agency created to protect consumers is not regulating two of the country’s fastest-growing financial institutions despite receiving voluminous complaints about them, NerdWallet has found.

Escaping scrutiny are Green Dot Corp. — which partners with Walmart, Apple, Intuit and more than 100,000 retailers — and Credit One Bank, which issues NASCAR credit cards.

A NerdWallet investigation found that many other businesses also are not subject to oversight by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau despite being the subjects of many complaints.

The lack of supervision means that consumer grievances about the companies do not appear on a public complaint database the bureau set up to help guide consumer decisions.

The absence prevents the CFPB from defending consumers in tens of thousands of disputes and gives the companies an advantage over competitors that are subject to bureau oversight. It also falsely assures consumers about the integrity and service the companies provide.

* * * 

[T]hose disputes are kept on what amounts to a shadow list of complaints that aren’t on the public portal. NerdWallet obtained the list through a Freedom of Information Act request to the government. * * * 

California-based Green Dot Corp. has at least 1,580 complaints across its products. Out of the roughly 5,000 businesses that appear on the public portal, this would place it among the top 2% of companies consumers have complained about the most, NerdWallet’s analysis found.

* * * 

But only five complaints that mention Green Dot show up on the CFPB’s public complaint portal, all filed under different companies’ names.


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