As insideARM has reported, Richard Cordray officially left his post at the CFPB last Friday. In stepping down, he appointed CFPB chief of staff Leandra English as his successor. When President Trump also named his own acting director, Mick Mulvaney (currently Director of the Office of Management and Budget), the day-to-day operations of the agency got a lot more murky.
The apparent chaos demonstrated this week at the CFPB might tempt agencies to let certain daily tasks like responding to consumer complaints to be pushed aside. ARM industry professionals are busy, and must balance the responsibilities of running an office with many other issues that arise. No matter who takes permanent leadership, the CFPB is not likely to be going away anytime soon. So it’s vital for collection agencies and ARM industry professionals to continue conducting their businesses with care. This includes responding to CFPB consumer complaints in a timely manner, in accordance with regulation.
For the last several months, PDCflow has been bringing knowledge and advice from the California Association of Collectors (CAC) Boot Camp panel, Kelly Parsons-O’Brien, June Coleman, Shawn Suhr and Courtney Reynaud, to a larger network of collectors through blog posts and downloadable guides.
Our latest piece, from a webinar in September, discusses best practices suggested by CAC President Parsons-O’Brien and the other panelists on how agencies can effectively deal with CFPB logged consumer complaints. Responding to these complaints is about more than fulfilling regulation. Making sure consumers are satisfied and your company is running well is the best way to reduce the number of complaints you’ll receive in the future.
One of Parsons-O’Brien’s best tips after you’ve received a complaint? Try to settle the issue directly with your customer. Many complaints can be handled by reaching out to an unsatisfied consumer. The genuine hope to make things right and resolve an issue can go a long way towards settling a complaint.
In the instances that this doesn’t work, or the consumer cannot be reached, there are many other items to keep in mind while drafting a response for the CFPB. Think about the language you’re using in your statement. Be sure you’re being clear and using language the least sophisticated consumer can understand. Also, keep your clients in mind. Because you are collecting on their behalf, interactions with you reflect back on them.
For more of the CAC’s insight on how to deal with CFPB complaints, see Collection Boot Camp: Addressing CFPB Complaints.