If you've ever had a dispute with one of the big three credit-reporting agencies, you know how frustrating it can be to get the simplest correction made, especially if an error is holding up a loan or forcing you into a higher rate of interest on a mortgage. You'll appreciate a new federal government agency now in place: the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The CFPB is now gearing up to oversee those credit-reporting agencies, and not just the big three. They'll be supervising 30 companies of the 400 reporting agencies that are in business. Those agencies issue 3 billion credit reports per year and make 36 billion updates to files. Counted among the 400 agencies are the resellers of information. The CFPB will supervise those that gather information on consumers of residential mortgages, payday loans, private college loans and more. It will make on-site examinations, review compliance systems and issue reports. Where necessary, it will write additional laws.
The CFPB does more than oversee the actions of the credit bureaus. Later this year, it will issue a report on its findings about debt collection and will no doubt issue new rules and regulations. The bureau recently proposed new rules about mortgage servicing that will include billing statements that are easy to read and understand, more notice before interest rates rise on adjustable mortgages, faster error resolution and more.
The CFPB also examined mortgage origination procedures to ensure they complied with laws. Those who originate mortgages -- lenders, brokers, servicers and others -- will now be under federal supervision. Among a lengthy list of findings, a proposal has been made to clarify loan points and fees to make it easier to compare loans between lenders.
If you need to dispute an error on your credit report, understand foreclosure, make a complaint about a debt collector's tactics, or any number of other financial concerns, the bureau's website is likely to have the answer. To explore everything it offers, go online to www.consumerfinance.gov. Click on Get Assistance and scroll to Ask CFPB to get answers to financial questions.
Remember that you're allowed to get one free credit report per year to check for errors. Call 1-877-322-8228 or go online to www.annualcreditreport.com to get your free report every year.
David Uffington regrets that he cannot personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into his column whenever possible. Write to him in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.