The nation's new consumer protection agency is about to start naming names, albeit in baby steps.
Despite vocal opposition from the financial industry, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Tuesday launched a website that allows consumers to browse through complaints filed against large financial companies.
Website users can see the name of the company targeted by each complaint, the nature of the issue, the company response -- including timeliness -- and the zip code of the complainer. Users can also generate charts showing which banks attract the most complaints, which issues are hardest to resolve and which regions of the country seem most irritating by bank practices.
(This) is a major milestone for consumers and all those who are interested in knowing more about their day-to-day experiences, said Richard Cordray, the bureau's first director. We believe this is the first time that the general public has been able to see such individual-level consumer complaint data for financial products and services. Anyone with access to the web will be able to review and analyze the information, and draw their own conclusions.