Written by Steve Van Beek
The CFPB has started to regularly provide snippets of consumers they've helped following a complaint. The CFPB has been posting these on its blog using the tag - Consumer Stories.
One of these stories features Greg from Michigan. And here is the story posted on the website:
"Greg, a 39-year-old insurance adjuster from Michigan, whose credit rating was damaged after a bank failed to tell him that an account with which he was associated was in arrears.
Greg added his name to his 71-year-old mother’s checking account after he helped her move into an assisted living facility. Six months passed without Greg getting any statements or hearing from the bank. Little did he know, however, that his mother had written a check and the account was racking up big fees because its balance had fallen below zero. He found out about it when he checked his credit report and saw that he owed a collection agency $469.
Greg paid the bill but his credit was harmed and he says the bank wouldn’t help. After the CFPB got involved, the bank apologized for their error, called off the debt collector, and had Greg’s negative credit record removed."
Now, you may have the following questions (and I'm sure there are many more):
- Where were the periodic statements being sent?
- Did Greg change the mailing address when he helped move his mother into an assisted living facility?
- Did Greg change the mailing address for the account when he added himself to the account?
- Was the mother receiving any information or correspondence from the bank?
- If Greg wasn't receiving any information from the bank, did he try to contact the bank?
- Did Greg try to access the account online?
- Did his mother tell him about the check she wrote (remember they are both joint on the account)?
- How does removing the negative credit record from Greg's account (even though it was accurate) improve the reliability of the credit reporting system? Aren't creditors required to report accurately?
Unfortunately, the CFPB has provided only a portion of the story. The part that makes Greg look innocent and the bank at fault. Of course, this might actually be true but there is no way to know without additional information. And, it is quite sad to see the CFPB pushing out these partial stories trying to paint financial institutions as cold-hearted when there is most likely plenty more to the story. So, to the CFPB - where is the rest of the story?
I'm not the only one who noticed this one-sided story. Kevin Funnell from the Bank Lawyer's Blog has a wonderful take on the CFPB's partial stories. If you like Kevin's blog - and his snarkiness - you are in luck as he'll be our keynote at our 2012 Regulatory Compliance Seminar in Seattle. The keynote presentation has a wonderful title - What Compliance Officers of "Good CUs" Can Learn from "Bad Banks".