Financial groups look to slow CFPB complaint publishing

Major banking and business groups are pushing to delay a contentious project by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that would make detailed complaints about their products public.

A group of five major trade groups sent a letter to the CFPB Tuesday, saying the agency’s proposal “raises many serious legal and practical issues.” And given that long list of concerns, the trades pushed the CFPB to triple its comment period to 90 days, and hold off on the project until it has finished related research projects.

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The letter marks the beginning of what is likely to be a lengthy battle between the regulator and financial firms over the release of the complaints.

The CFPB announced earlier this month that it was considering publishing online the details of complaints it receives from consumers. Currently, the agency’s database only lists the basic information without providing specifics.

Now the agency wants to go a step further, and give consumers the option to publish a detailed rundown of their grievance, while giving companies the chance to respond. In its three years of existence, the CFPB said it has collected 400,000 complaints from consumers.

The agency argued that making more detailed complaints public would draw further attention to those issues and encourage competition.

The trade groups did not detail their problems with the proposal in their letter. Instead, they said the 30 days provided by the CFPB is “simply not enough time for us and our members to analyze and respond.”

The letter was signed by the Financial Services Roundtable, American Bankers Association, Consumer Bankers Association, the Clearing House, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.