The CFPB has announced that it will hold a field hearing on March 28 in Des Moines, Iowa on the Bureau’s consumer complaint system.  The CFPB’s practice has been to use field hearings to announce new initiatives.  Director Cordray is slated to give remarks, and we would not be surprised to see Director Cordray announce at the March 28 event that the complaint system has begun taking complaints about debt collection and/or payday and short-term loans.

Launched in July 2011 for credit card complaints, the system was first expanded in November 2011 to take mortgage complaints.  In 2012, the system was further expanded to take complaints about credit reporting, bank accounts and services, money transfers, student loans, auto loans and other consumer loans.  CFPB officials have identified complaints about debt collectors and payday lenders as complaints the system would handle by the end of 2012.  Last month, Carter Dougherty of Bloomberg News reported that the CFPB would begin taking debt collection complaints in the second quarter of this year.

Debt collectors and payday lenders continue to be regular subjects of critical comments by CFPB officials and complaints taken by the CFPB’s system about these industries are likely to fuel further CFPB criticism and increased industry scrutiny.