In July, the CFPB Ombudsman’s Office issued its mid-year update for 2017. Each year, the Ombudsman is required to submit an annual report to the CFPB Director. The mid-year update outlines issues related to individual inquires made to the Ombudsman’s Office, the accessibility of CFPB print materials, whistleblower communications, Ombudsman Forums, Ombudsman Interactives, and the office’s independent outreach programs. Highlighted are several key points:
- Individual Inquires. The Ombudsman’s Office reported that 820 inquiries were received from consumers, financial entities, consumer and trade groups, and others in the first six months of 2017—an increase from the 541 inquiries received during the same time frame the previous year
- Whistleblower Communications. The Bureau continued to receive complaints about alleged violations of consumer financial protection laws. However, according to the Ombudsman, the contact points for whistleblowers have become more difficult to find since the CFPB’s 2016 website refresh. The Ombudsman’s Office provided suggestions to make the information easier to locate.
- Ombudsman Forums. The Ombudsman’s Office recently conducted a forum with compliance officers, or people in similar roles, from companies that engage with the CFPB. The forum facilitated discussions on: (i) compliance management and the consumer complaint process; (ii) the public Consumer Complaint Database; (iii) the examination process; (iv) CFPB compliance tools and resources; and (v) current regulatory compliance process considerations. Additionally, an event with the associations of state government regulators is planned.
- Ombudsman Interactives. The “Ombudsman Interactives” initiative was launched earlier this year to facilitate discussions similar to those at the Ombudsman Forums. Attendees at consumer, trade, and other conferences participated in the onsite interactives.
- Ombudsman Outreach. The Ombudsman’s Office reported that it continues its independent outreach programs intended to share information on the CFPB’s resources and latest work. A coordinated outreach program held this year was attended by nationwide state banking associations.