The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau this week added debt collectors to the list of businesses it oversees. Currently responsible for enforcement of regulations regarding banks, non-bank mortgage lenders, credit card companies, credit reporting agencies and others, the agency is now tasked with overseeing debt collection companies under its federal supervision.
In announcing the additional market, the CFPB released a field guide examiners will use in their oversight.
“Millions of consumers are affected by debt collection, and we want to make sure they are treated fairly,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Today we are announcing that we will be supervising the larger debt collectors in the market for the first time at the federal level. We want all companies to realize that the better business choice is to follow the law—not break it.”
Among the items under the CFPB’s watch when it comes to debt collectors: providing disclosures and accurate information to consumers, having a consumer complaint and dispute resolution process and communicating honestly and civilly with consumers.
The bureau notes 30 million Americans carry an average of $1,500 in debt that is subject to collection. The new supervision authority will begin effectively January 2, 2013.
Written by Elizabeth Ecker