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Richard Cordray, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), told a Senate committee Tuesday that accuracy of information used by debt collectors is a primary concern of the Bureau as it looks at new rules to govern the ARM industry.

Cordray testified before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs delivering his agency’s semi-annual report to Congress. In prepared remarks, Cordray broadly discussed the progress the CFPB has made over the past two years of operation.

But in questions directed to Cordray, Senators specifically asked about the CFPB’s recent Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR). Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) noted that he held a hearing in July to address potential FDCPA reform and asked Cordray what the CFPB is looking at in terms of new rules for debt collectors.

Cordray commented that information used in the debt collection process is a top concern for regulators. “If a consumer is being pursued for a debt they don’t owe or a debt they may have paid or are validly disputing, and that’s not recognized by the collector or debt buyer, that’s a big problem,” he said.

Director Cordray also noted that the general way collectors treat consumers will be a focus in the rulemaking process. He said that people should pay their debt, but just because a consumer is behind on payments doesn’t give collectors the right to mistreat them.

Cordray did note that many major players in the ARM industry respect and are trying to abide by the law, but feel undercut by other companies that show no regard for rules.

Watch the full video of the hearing below. Senator Brown’s question about the ANPR begins at around the 58 minute mark:

The CFPB also announced Tuesday that it has partnered with the city of Columbus, Ohio to provide consumers a local direct line that connects to the Bureau should they have financial questions or wish to file a complaint. Residents of Columbus will be able to dial 311, the Mayor’s Constituent Service non-emergency hotline, and if their question relates to financial issues, they will be routed directly to CFPB call centers.

The arrangement is similar to one announced earlier in the year with Newark, N.J. There, residents can dial 4311 and will be routed to the CFPB should their issue be financial in nature.

 


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