CFPB Suppressing Another Higher-Ed Report

Former CFPB Acting Director Mick Mulvaney Again Withheld Critical Information That Could Help Student Borrowers 


WASHINGTON, D.C. – According to MarketWatch, under the leadership of former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Acting Director Mick Mulvaney and new Director Kathy Kraninger, the Bureau has failed to release its legally-mandated yearly analysis that highlights complaints from student loan borrowers.

This annual report should evaluate every step of the student loan experience. It is an opportunity for the voices of vulnerable borrowers who have complaints or have had bad experiences to be heard. Such information is gathered from the CFPB consumer complaint database and is submitted to government agencies every October. This is the first year that the report has not been released since the process began in 2012.

The CFPB has an obligation to protect student borrowers from predatory behavior and expose unethical or even illegal activities that occur during the entirety of the student loan experience. How can it fulfill this obligation if it continues to suppress important information from being released to the public? These cover-ups by CFPB officials must be investigated by the new Congress,” said Karl Frisch, executive director of Allied Progress.

This follows a last week’s news a report that was hidden by the CFPB and only released after a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request was submitted by Allied Progress and others. The report highlighted how Wells Fargo and other big banks that provide college-sponsored deposit and prepaid accounts are burying students with crippling fees.

What You Need To Know

Trump’s CFPB Is Withholding Student Loan Complaint Data, Rendering Borrowers “‘Invisible'”

The CFPB Under Trump Appears To Have Failed To Fulfill Its Legal Obligation To Report On Student Loan Complaints

The CFPB Has Failed To Release A Legally-Required Report On Student Loan Borrowers’ Complaints Submitted Annually To Congress And Federal Agencies.“The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau failed to release an annual analysis of borrowers’ top complaints for the first time since the agency started investigating student-loan complaints in 2012.” [Jillian Berman, “Trump administration refuses to publish required report on student-loan borrower complaints,” MarketWatch, 12/13/18]

  • The CFPB Has Usually Released The Report In October, But It Has Yet To Do So This Year. “The CFPB is requiredby statute to submit the report on the same day annually to multiple agencies and congressional committees. Previously the agency has submitted the report in October, but this year October came and went with no report.” [Jillian Berman, “Trump administration refuses to publish required report on student-loan borrower complaints,” MarketWatch, 12/13/18]

Meanwhile, The Thousands Of Complaints That Have Piled Up In The Past Year… 

An Independent Study By “Former CFPB Staffers” Found That Thousands Of Student Loan Complaints Have Continued To Accumulate In The Time Since The Last Report.“Since September 2017 — about a month before the agency last published its annual analysis of student debt complaint data — consumers have submitted more than 13,000 complaints about student loan products, according to a report released Tuesday by the Student Borrower Protection Center, an advocacy organization founded earlier this year by former CFPB staffers.” [Jillian Berman, “Trump administration refuses to publish required report on student-loan borrower complaints,” MarketWatch, 12/13/18]

…Are Being Withheld, Rendering Student Loan Borrowers “‘Invisible'”

The CFPB’s Former Student Loan Ombudsman Argued The Trump Administration “‘Is Trying To Make The Struggles Of Student Loan Borrowers Invisible.'” “Seth Frotman, the executive director of SBPC and the former student loan ombudsman at the CFPB, said his group decided to release the report because they felt the Trump administration ‘is trying to make the struggles of student loan borrowers invisible.'” [Jillian Berman, “Trump administration refuses to publish required report on student-loan borrower complaints,” MarketWatch, 12/13/18]

  • Consumer Advocates Have Argued That The Report Was Critical In Identifying Chronic Problems In The Student Lending Industry. Consumer advocate Persis Yu argued, “‘Every consumer that takes the effort to go and complain to a federal agency speaks for a lot of other consumers,’ Yu said. ‘When you see the complaint coming up over and over again in a complaint database like that it means there’s a real problem.'” [Jillian Berman, “Trump administration refuses to publish required report on student-loan borrower complaints,” MarketWatch, 12/13/18]

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