Mortgage Groups Seek GAO Scrutiny of Complaint Database

Two industry groups are urging a congressional watchdog agency to review the Consumer Financial Protection Bureaus 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 CFPBs database.

It would be easy to use the CFPBs 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 CFPBs 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 CFPBs complaint database, especially as to mortgage loans, for which a significant amount of information is necessarily public, the joint AFSA-CMC letter says.