The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has teamed up with the City of Newark to provide an immediate and accessible conduit for consumer complaints about financial products and services.  Residents of the New Jersey city have a local non-emergency hotline they can call to access city services and now when they dial 4311 with a relevant question or complaint they will be transferred to the CFPB Consumer Response Team.

"The CFPB's job is to help consumers navigate the often confusing financial marketplace and to hold financial institutions accountable," said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. "Through this coordination, we will be able to reach and to help consumers who may not have found us otherwise."

The Bureau began accepting complaints and questions in July 2011, starting with credit cards and gradually adding mortgages, student loans, and credit reporting issues to the list.  To date the Bureau has received 130,000 on-line and telephone submissions. 

The Consumer Response Department screens complaints for completeness, jurisdiction, and non-duplication. Complaints that meet these criteria are then sent to the company (bank or nonbank) for review and response. Companies are given 15 days to provide a response and are expected to close all but the most complicated complaints within 60 days. Consumers can log into the CFPB's website to check the status of their complaint and to provide feedback about the company's response.