Published: September 2014

CFPB’s complaint database - more can be done to help student loan borrowers

Consumer Action joined student loan advocates in supporting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)'s public consumer complaint database. While the database provides consumers with empowering details regarding financial institutions, more can be done to improve and expand the database so it better captures student loan complaints. With student loan servicing complaints rising, student borrowers have a lot to gain by sharing public details of issues they've encountered. These improvements will help students and their families successfully manage and repay their student loans and strengthen the CFPB’s and other regulators’ ability to monitor the student loan industry and enforce the law.

To date, several thousand complaints had been filed with the CFPB about private student loans, servicers, and debt collectors. The volume of complaints will only increase as the private student loan and refinancing market expands; more people take out student loans; and the public increasingly becomes informed about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) role in student loan issues. Public complaint details, which consumers opt-in to publically sharing, help consumers make informed decisions about their lenders and servicers. Regulators, state and federal law enforcement agencies and advocates can also utilize the narratives to analyze and understand how student loan servicers and debt collectors succeed and fail in helping borrowers navigate the complexities of managing and repaying loans.

However, refining and expanding the complaint database in the ways suggested below will increase the utility of publically shared complaints:

  • Update the Student Loan form to better gather complaints about federal student loan servicers and federal student loan debt collectors
  • Include student loan debt collection complaints under the Student Loan icon/form
  • Include fields customized to capture specific federal student loan debt collection and servicing issues
  • Include fields to capture information about private student loan refinancing and conversion of federal loans into private loans
  • Include a field for name of school

Refining the complaint database in the ways suggested will increase the utility of the complaints the CFPB collects, ultimately helping student borrwers, their families and regulators.

Lead Organization

Americans for Financial Reform (AFR)

Other Organizations

Center for Responsible Lending | Children’s Advocacy Institute | Consumer Action | Consumers Union | Jobs With Justice | National Association for College Admission | Counseling National Education Association | New York Students Rising | One Wisconsin Institute | One Wisconsin Now | University of San Diego Center for Public Interest Law | University of San Diego Veterans Legal Clinic | Veterans Education Success

More Information

For more information, please visit AFR's website.

Download PDF

CFPB’s complaint database - more can be done to help student loan borrowers   (CFPB_student_complaint_letter_9-22.pdf)





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