The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has appointed new general counsel Meredith Fuchs and launched the Consumer Response Database—a searchable and publicly available portal that lists the names of companies about whom consumers have complained. The database is currently limited to credit card complaints; however, the database will expand to complaints about mortgages and other bank products.

From July 21, 2011, to June 1, 2012, the CFPB collected approximately 45,630 consumer complaints, of which 16,840 were credit card complaints. Upon review, the CFPB sent 81 percent of those complaints to companies for analysis and response.

Potential Concerns and Recommendations: A potential concern is that complaints are being placed on the public database before the accuracy of the complaint is verified. This mechanism is likely to facilitate class action litigation by consumers. The data collected may potentially influence the CFPB’s examination of banks and issuers. Banks that have not already done so should consider creating policies to promptly address and resolve these complaints in a timely and cost-efficient manner. It may also be prudent to create policies to minimize events giving rise to complaints.