CFPB Concludes Successful Visit

September 20th, 2013

On Friday, September 20, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) concluded its meetings in Mississippi by announcing a new partnership with the City of Jackson.  Consumers may now call the city’s 311 line with complaints regarding financial products and services.  Consumers that dial the number with complaints will be connected directly with the CFPB where questions may be answered or formal complaints may be lodged.

The announcement marked the end of a successful series of field hearings in Mississippi.  Throughout the week, the Bureau met with consumer advocates, credit unions and community bankers.  Bureau leadership also met a number of statewide elected officials, regulators and people on the ground, particularly in the rural communities of Utica, Lorman, and Itta Bena.

For MEPC, the week culminated with the public meeting hosted by Mississippi Valley State University.  MEPC went on public record calling on the Bureau to use its authority to create an “ability to repay” consideration as it contemplates regulations for the payday lending industry.  Over the last several years, Hope Credit Union (HOPE) has encountered a number of members who have sought the assistance of HOPE after taking out as many as 8 payday loans that were scheduled to come due around the same time.  This unsustainable practice prompted MEPC to suggest limits on the maximum amount of dollars outstanding for payday loan borrowers along with a system that would allow a regulator to enforce the limits.

During the meeting, the Bureau also released a new tool to make data from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act more accessible.  To use the tool, click here.  Users can look up information on mortgage originations and applications by county and MSA using the interface.

The creation of the CFPB remains one of the most important developments over the last several years on matters concerning the protection of consumers – especially in Mississippi.  Consumers may submit complaints via the Bureau’s website.  As the Bureau continues to seek comment on rules and regulations and share data, MEPC will continue to work with its partners to disseminate the information to ensure that Mississippians have access to a fair, affordable and transparent financial system.

-Ed Sivak, MEPC Director