Mortgage Groups Seek GAO Scrutiny of Complaint Database
Two industry groups are urging a congressional watchdog agency to review the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s consumer complaint database for possible privacy issues.
The American Financial Services Association and Consumer Mortgage Coalition are raising concerns that the information provided by mortgage borrowers is being publicly disclosed on CFPB’s database.
“It would be easy to use the CFPB’s database, plus public loan records, and determine whose loan it is, at least in some cases,” according to the AFSA-CMC letter to the General Accountability Office.
The GAO is currently investigating the CFPB’s purchases of consumer data at the request of Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho.
The ranking Republican on the Senate Banking Committee claims the CFPB is not permitted to gather or analyze “personally identifiable financial information.” And the consumer bureau is exceeding its authority by purchasing “big data” on consumer behavior.
The consumer bureau receives a lot of consumer complaints about mortgage lenders, including banks, mortgage banking firms and mortgage brokers. Such complaints often lead to quick corrective action by the lender. But the CFPB also uses the complaints to target lenders and servicers for examinations and enforcement actions.
“We urge the GAO to address the threats to consumer financial privacy resulting from the CFPB’s complaint database, especially as to mortgage loans, for which a significant amount of information is necessarily public,” the joint AFSA-CMC letter says.