The acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau may end public access to a web portal consumers use to file complaints against financial companies, according to a new report.
Acting CFPB Director Mick Mulvaney told an audience at an American Bankers Association conference this week that he planned to eliminate public access to the CFPB’s complaint database, according to The Wall Street Journal. Mulvaney said the database contains information that hasn’t been fully vetted by the government.
“I don’t see anything in here that says I have to run a Yelp for financial services sponsored by the federal government,” Mulvaney said as he held up a copy of the Dodd-Frank Act. The audience applauded the comment, WSJ reported.
The CFPB complaints database has collected 1.5 million consumer complaints on financial companies and products since it was launched in 2011. Advocates say that the information in that database needs to remain public, because it puts pressure on companies to respond to consumer concerns.
“It’s an incredibly important tool that empowers consumers,” Aaron Klein, a policy director at the Brookings Institution, told WSJ. “Why would he want to reduce information so people could make less-informed choices?”
But businesses say that the public database spreads negative, unverified information about them. Currently, the CFPB verifies that the customer filing the complaint actually did business with the company concerned, but doesn’t actually confirm the details of the complaint itself, according to WSJ.
Mulvaney said that the CFPB would continue to maintain a toll-free phone number and a website to collect consumer complaints and forward them to companies, but that the database itself would be hidden from public view.