The Ombudsman’s Office within the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau followed up recently on an investigation into complaints from the auto finance industry that language in CFPB press releases can be more sensational than the legal language used in the bureau’s consent orders.
In its annual report, filed earlier this month, CFPB Ombudsman Wendy Kamenshine said, “we concluded that CFPB press releases generally do reflect the language in the consent orders.” The investigation began a year ago.
Despite the overall conclusion, the report also said the watchdog found industry complaints had some substance. For instance, the releases contained “some words with legal meanings or interpretations … that were not in the consent orders.”
Lenders review and sign CFPB consent orders before they are published. The consent orders routinely say lenders “neither admit nor deny” the allegations against them. But in some cases, lenders and their supporters complained that after signing a consent order, the CFPB blindsided them in their press releases.
The ombudsman’s office also concludes that CFPB press releases have shown a “noticeable improvement.”