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CFPB Watch: Elders at risk of eviction, credit bureau lapses, and a big birthday

The Bureau’s newest tool helps renters (and landlords) locate local emergency rental assistance programs for help repaying up to 18 months in back rent and utilities.
Published: Friday, September 03, 2021

By Ruth Susswein

More than half a million renters over age 65 are behind on their rent as of July 2021, according to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) analysis of U.S. Census data, and are soon to be at risk of eviction. Nearly one-third (32%) of delinquent older renters believe that they are likely to be evicted. That figure jumps to 64% for older renters who have a mobility-related disability. Unfortunately, the Centers for Disease Control's extended eviction moratorium (for those in counties with high concentrations of COVID) has recently been reversed. Yet renters may still be eligible for state or local protections. Click here for an incomplete list of local protections. The Bureau’s newest tool helps renters (and landlords) locate local emergency rental assistance programs for help repaying up to 18 months in back rent and utilities. For more renter protection resources—in seven languages—visit the CFPB’s “Help for homeowners and renters during the coronavirus national emergency” webpage and click on the appropriate link (for homeowners, renters or landlords).

10th anniversary

As part of the Consumer Bureau’s 10th anniversary celebration in July, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) noted that the CFPB was created to respond to the last great financial crisis (2008) and is now focused on doing its part to prevent the next national economic disaster, particularly for homeowners and renters. The CFPB was designed to be the country’s consumer financial watchdog and to rid the marketplace of risky and deceptive financial practices. Over the last decade, it has returned more than $14 billion in financial relief to consumers (plus fined corporations $1.7 billion in penalties), and helped more than 3 million consumers with complaints arising in the financial marketplace. It oversees nonbank mortgage and auto lenders, student loan servicers, credit bureaus, and other firms that previously were not regulated. The CFPB has written rules to make:

The CFPB survived the Trump/Mulvaney/Kraninger leadership intent on gutting the agency, and has since returned to its consumer protection mission under Acting Director Dave Uejio, whose tenure has emphasized the need for racial and economic equity and fair lending for all.

Senator Warren called the CFPB’s consumer complaint system the Bureau’s “crown jewel”—a powerful tool for consumers and the agency to hold companies accountable for their actions.

CFPB points to credit bureau lapses

Credit reporting problems accounted for more than half (58%) of the complaints the Bureau received in 2020. In a recent CFPB Consumer Response report, the Bureau accused national credit bureaus of not “providing complete and accurate responses” to many complaints and of failing to respond to the direct issues that consumers had disputed in their credit reports.

In its Summer 2021 Supervisory Highlights report, the Bureau faulted credit reporting agencies for not complying with Fair Credit Reporting Act requirements for providing “maximum possible accuracy” in credit reports in 2020. It said credit bureaus relied on company (“furnisher”) information that they should have known was not credible because companies did not respond or simply validated nearly all the information disputed by consumers. Credit bureaus also failed to block inaccurate data resultant from identity theft and failed to apply security freezes requested by consumers in a timely manner, according to the CFPB. The Bureau plans to further address incomplete and inaccurate credit bureau information later this year.

 

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