Strong verification process needed for CFPB complaint database

CFPB Building

The CFPB should establish a strong verification process for its consumer complaint database, America’s Credit Unions’ James Akin wrote to the bureau Monday, in response to a bureau request for comment on the issue.

“While the objective of these surveys is commendable, we are concerned about potential harm that might arise from data inaccuracies, particularly given the deficiencies in the Bureau’s current consumer complaint collection,” Akin wrote, adding that the current system has significant issues that “call into question the reliability” of the data, including a lack of verification, allowing for potentially inaccurate or even false complaints, and a frequent lack of context.

“The CFPB should consider the unique position of credit unions and the potential damage that inaccurate or misleading complaint data can cause to these relationship-based financial institutions,” Akin wrote.

In addition to establishing a robust verification process to confirm the accuracy and legitimacy of consumer complaints, America’s Credit Unions recommends refraining from using data from these new surveys or the existing complaint database for any “public disclosures, publications, or as evidence in supervisory or rulemaking procedures until a thorough verification system is implemented.”

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