Five Ways the New Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Can Help You

Posted on 08/15/2011

There’s a brand new government office designed to protect you by monitoring consumer financial products. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was established as a part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. Whether you’ve heard about this new bureau or not, here are five ways it can serve you.

Submitting Credit Card Complaints
If you’ve ever had a beef with your credit card company it can often feel overwhelming to go up against a huge corporation. But the CFPB wants to help provide you with some back up. Head to their website to submit a credit card complaint. They’ll forward the details to your credit card company on your behalf and keep you updated about the status of the complaint.

Simplifying Mortgage Disclosure
One of the first actions of the CFPB is to create a mortgage disclosure form. Officials say that often consumers signing up for a mortgage don’t know the basic facts of the mortgage they’ve applied for. So the bureau is designing a new form that will eventually be given to every person applying for a mortgage. The form will explain in simple language crucial information about hidden risks, whether the cost can go up and other key details that many consumers don’t fully understand until it’s too late.

Sending Funds Overseas
If you’ve got relatives overseas and you need to send them money the bureau plans to work on increasing transparency when it comes to exchange rates and fees. Consumers should have a better idea up front as to what they’re being charged to transfer money.

Monitoring Depository Agencies
Millions of Americans use credit unions for their financial needs. The agency will investigate credit unions that have assets of $10 billion or more to make sure they are following correct consumer practices.

Getting a Financial Education
Learn about budgeting, credit cards and mortgages with the help of The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. They’re in the process of establishing an Office of Financial Education that will coordinate programs to help boost Americans’ financial literacy. In the meantime, the bureau suggests heading to to learn finance basics.

By Alison Storm

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Posted on 08.22.11 at 10:39 AM

Great, another useless office taking up funds. We used to get information on how to protect OURSELVES in HIGH SCHOOL. But they figured sex ed, finance, home ec and P.E. weren't important anymore.

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