WASHINGTON The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a monthly snapshot of its complaint database on Thursday, the first of what will be a series of monthly reports that dig deeper into the trove of data it collects.
Director Richard Cordray said that larger companies with more customers are more likely to show up in the reports based on the raw numbers, but that the CFPB is seeking to "normalize" the data to provide a more accurate picture of companies' customer track record.
"These monthly reports will include information about a new category in the lexicon of consumer finance, which we call the 'most-complained-about companies,'" Cordray said while speaking to an audience at an event here sponsored by consumer advocate groups.
Equifax, Experian and Bank of America topped the list of most complaints filed by consumers in the inaugural July report, but Cordray said that did not necessarily mean they were mistreating customers.
"Keep in mind that these are also some of the largest companies in this arena that deal with many millions of consumers, so the data needs to be viewed in context," Cordray said.
Richard Hunt, president of the Consumer Bankers Association, said in a statement that "we are pleased the CFPB agrees with us on the need to normalize the complaint data and is seeking comment on the best approaches."
But he added that the group still objects to a recent move by the agency to publish consumer "narratives" that can accompany a consumer complaint if they opt to do so.
"We are profoundly disappointed the bureau is releasing the public narratives," Hunt said. "Publishing unverified one-sided narratives does not benefit consumers."