You can now petition for unfair treatment by banks and lenders

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If you feel that banks, lenders and other financial institutions are not treating you fairly, now is your chance to let the government know and possibly make some changes.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau now lets you file a petition directly with the agency. You can use this petition to ask the agency to consider a new rule about a financial problem, to change an existing rule, or to repeal it.

“I think it’s important for people to know that this isn’t a petition to collect signatures,” said Whitney Barkley of the Center for Responsible Lending. “This is a petition in the legal sense where they can basically write a letter to the department explaining why they believe the product is predatory and should be investigated.”

Before this change, you could comment on the proposed financial rules. This left some fearing they would need an expensive lawyer or lobbyist to get their concerns heard.

The change is also intended to create more transparency about what lobbyists are doing, as they will have to go through the same petitioning process as everyone else.

“What we’re really talking about here is what’s called the revolving door, where people who have worked in government then go to work for companies that are regulated by the government, and that’s how it’s going to go,” said US PIRG’s Mike Litt. “This is a big step in empowering the consumer.”

Consumer advocates hope the change will result in new or revised rules on issues such as overdraft fees, payday loans and credit report errors. All of these problems got worse during the pandemic.

You can submit a petition by emailing [email protected]

You can see petitions that have already been submitted HERE.

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