In 2011, Congress created a new watchdog agency called the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which was charged with oversight of the financial industry in the wake of the 2008 mortgage/banking meltdown. The Bureau promotes fairness and transparency to protect consumers from deceptive practices not only in the banking and mortgage industries, but also credit card (issuing) companies, payday loan services, debt collectors, as well as the payments industry – ISO’s like Dharma Merchant Services. There is no doubt that this is needed as there is a long history of tarnished practices that continue today. Over a million complaints have been handled with over $12 billion saved for consumers in the last six years alone, so without question this agency has created great merit. In our industry, the CFPB has been trying to protect consumers who have purchased prepaid debit cards by issuers that do not fully disclose conditions, fees, and access of accounts.
But, beware! Unfortunately, the current administration has the CFPB in its cross hairs with a potential new director who once tried to gut the agency. More than a dozen state attorneys general had joined the fight to protect the CFPB, though this too is likely to change.