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Consumer bureau unveils Q&A feature for financial products

March 22, 2012|By Jim Puzzanghera
  • Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg…)

Reporting from Washington   — Seeking to help average Americans better understand complex financial products, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has launched an interactive feature on its website with plain-language answers to questions about mortgages, credit cards and other services.

"Ask CFPB" has answers to more than 350 common questions with tools to help filter results so users get the most relevant answers, agency officials said Thursday.

"We’re working to provide consumers with sound, dependable guidance on financial topics," the agency's director, Richard Cordray, told reporters after a demonstration of the Q&A feature. "Inherent in our mission is the need to promote financial literacy and financial know-how for all Americans."

The CFPB wants to become both a trusted resource and one-stop shop for consumers seeking information about financial products, he said. The goal is to help consumers make decisions, but not to offer tailored financial advice.

Ask CFPB allows consumers to easily file a complaint with the agency if they discover through one of the answers that a bank or other financial company has violated the law, such as a credit card company changing certain terms without the required 45-day notice.

The agency will continue to add questions and answers to the site, and consumers can pose their own specific questions, as well as rate the answers provided.

The CFPB plans to monitor the types of questions being asked to help set policy priorities.


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