Recent CFPB Updates


The Ombudsman’s Office annual report, which I delivered to the Director, is available today on our webpage.

The Ombudsman’s Office is an independent, impartial, and confidential resource that assists consumers, financial entities, consumer or trade groups, and others in informally resolving process issues with the CFPB. This year, as we expanded our focus on individual inquiries, we also welcomed the opportunity to expeditiously address an array of topics impacting many people or entities at one time.

Our Ombudsman in Brief section of our report, for example, provides a longer summary of our work on some systemic topics from this year, including: assisting inquirers with recognizing imposter scams; distinguishing between new and duplicate consumer complaints; assisting consumers with diminished capacity or illness in addressing consumer finance concerns; and connecting with the CFPB through publicly provided contact points.

In our report, we also discuss some broader, impactful topics in the Demonstrating the Ombudsman in Practice section, which provides short examples of how we can assist on topics, such as assisting state agencies with navigating CFPB resources, highlighting the need for additional consumer information after an enforcement action, and proposing updates to the CFPB’s Spanish language website.

We have a new FAQ format for our discussion of individual inquiries to our office to answer questions we often receive. This section of the report also includes an updated automated response that is filled with resources for all inquirers who first contact us by email. In addition, there is a new figure that demonstrates the lifecycle of an inquiry to our office with an example from this year…


CFPB Orders Bank of America to Pay $12 Million for Reporting False Mortgage Data

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) today ordered Bank of America to pay a $12 million penalty for submitting false mortgage lending information to the federal government under a long-standing federal law. For at least four years, hundreds of Bank of America loan officers failed to ask mortgage applicants certain demographic questions as required under federal law, and then falsely reported that the applicants had chosen not to respond. Under the CFPB’s order, Bank of America must pay $12 million into the CFPB’s victims relief fund.

Enacted in 1975, the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) requires mortgage lenders to report information about loan applications and originations to the CFPB and other federal regulators. The data collected under HMDA are the most comprehensive source of publicly available information on the U.S. mortgage market. The public and regulators can use the information to monitor whether financial institutions are serving the housing needs of their communities, and to identify possible discriminatory lending patterns.

The Home Mortgage Disclosure Act requires financial institutions to report demographic data about mortgage applicants. The CFPB’s review of Bank of America’s HMDA data collection practices found that the bank was submitting false data, including falsely reporting that mortgage applicants were declining to answer demographic questions. This conduct violated HMDA and its implementing regulation, Regulation C, as well as the Consumer Financial Protection Act. Specifically, the CFPB found that Bank of America:

  • Falsely reported that applicants declined to provide information: Hundreds of Bank of America loan officers reported that 100% of mortgage applicants chose not to provide their demographic data over at least a three month period. In fact, these loan officers were not asking applicants for demographic data, but instead were falsely recording that the applicants chose not to provide the information.
  • Failed to adequately oversee accurate data collection: Bank of America did not ensure that its mortgage loan officers accurately collected and reported the demographic data required under HMDA. For example, the bank identified that many loan officers receiving applications by phone were failing to collect the required data as early as 2013, but the bank turned a blind eye for years despite knowledge of the problem.

The CFPB has taken numerous actions against Bank of America for violating federal law. In July 2023, the CFPB and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) ordered Bank of America to pay over $200 million for illegally charging junk fees, withholding credit card rewards, and opening fake accounts. In 2022, CFPB and OCC ordered Bank of America to pay $225 million in fines and refund hundreds of millions of dollars to consumers for botched disbursement of state unemployment benefits. That same year, Bank of America also paid a $10 million penalty for unlawful garnishments of customer accounts. And in 2014, the CFPB ordered Bank of America to pay $727 million to consumers for illegal and deceptive credit card marketing practices.

PUBLISHED Piloting Disclosures for Construction Loans

Today, the CFPB announced that it has approved an application that marks the first step for piloting disclosures for construction loans. Under this program, the CFPB authorizes parameters for in-market testing of alternatives to required disclosures. Real-world disclosure testing is often more accurate than lab testing, and this effort can help the CFPB by informing the need for possible regulatory changes.

The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) applied under the program for a template covering the CFPB’s Know Before You Owe Disclosures. In particular, the ICBA asked to test certain adjustments to the existing mortgage disclosures in the unique context of construction loans, for which the CFPB’s disclosures were not primarily designed. The application noted that, in particular, many first-time homebuyers in rural areas build their homes instead of buying existing homes, and consequently, the challenges of using the current disclosures in the construction loan context may impact rural areas more acutely. The CFPB solicited comments on the ICBA’s application in February and made a decision to approve the template after reviewing the public feedback.

Individual lenders can apply for approval to test the alternative disclosures for construction loans. In deciding whether to approve individual lender applications, the CFPB will carefully evaluate a lender’s plan to test the effectiveness of these disclosures. The CFPB looks forward to reviewing any lender applications.


CFPB and 11 States Order Prehired to Provide Students More than $30 Million in Relief for Illegal Student Lending Practices

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and 11 states announced today that Prehired will provide more than $30 million in relief to student borrowers for making false promises of job placement, trapping students with “income share” loans that violated the law, and resorting to abusive debt collection practices when borrowers could not pay. The CFPB partnered with Washington, Delaware, California, Oregon, Minnesota, Illinois, South Carolina, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Virginia, and Wisconsin to bring the enforcement action against Prehired and two affiliated companies. The order approved by a federal court requires Prehired to cease all operations, pay $4.2 million in redress to consumers that were affected by its illegal practices, and voids all of its outstanding income share loans, valued by Prehired at nearly $27 million.

Prehired was a Delaware-based company that operated a 12-week online training program claiming to prepare students for entry-level positions as software sales development representatives with “six-figure salaries” and a “job guarantee.” Prehired offered students income share loans to help finance their costs of the program. Today’s order also names two affiliated companies, Prehired Recruiting and Prehired Accelerator, that pursued collection on defaulted income share loans.

In July 2023, the states and the CFPB sued Prehired to void the illegal loans and facilitate consumer redress. The states and the CFPB alleged that Prehired:

  • Deceived borrowers by claiming its loans were not loans: Prehired’s marketing falsely claimed that its loans did not create a debt because the loan was contingent on job placement with a yearly salary over $60,000. But the company also deceptively buried terms in the loan that required graduates to pay even if they never got a job.
  • Kept borrowers in the dark about key loan information: Prehired hid important loan terms from borrowers, including the amount financed, finance charges, and the loans’ annual percentage rate.
  • Tricked consumers with deceptive debt collection practices: Prehired Recruiting and Prehired Accelerator pushed borrowers into converting their income share loan into a revised “settlement agreement” that required them to make payments even if they had not found a job, and which contained more burdensome dispute resolution and collection terms. Prehired Recruiting and Prehired Accelerator also falsely represented the amount of debt owed by consumers and stated Prehired could collect more than the consumer legally owed.
  • Sued students in a faraway location: Prehired Recruiting filed debt collection lawsuits in a jurisdiction far away from where the consumers lived and were not able to be physically present when they executed the financing contract. Many consumers were unaware that Prehired Recruiting could file an action in Delaware because Prehired’s income share loans did not provide for venue in Delaware or the consumers had little or no opportunity to review or negotiate that provision.


CFPB Orders Toyota Motor Credit to Pay $60 Million for Illegal Lending and Credit Reporting Misconduct

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) today ordered Toyota Motor Credit Corporation to pay $60 million in consumer redress and penalties for operating an illegal scheme to prevent borrowers from cancelling product bundles that increased their monthly car loan payments. The company withheld refunds or refunded incorrect amounts on the bundled products and knowingly tarnished consumers’ credit reports with false information. The CFPB is ordering Toyota Motor Credit to stop its unlawful practices, pay $48 million to harmed consumers, and pay a $12 million penalty into the CFPB’s victims relief fund.

Toyota Motor Credit Corporation is the United States-based auto-financing arm of the Toyota Motor Corporation, and is headquartered in Plano, Texas. It is one of the largest indirect auto lenders in the United States, with nearly five million customer accounts and more than $135 billion in assets as of October 2022.

Toyota Motor Credit provides financing for consumers buying cars through Toyota dealerships, and also offers optional products and services sold with the vehicles. Dealerships often sell the products and services as a bundled package to consumers and then add them onto car loan contracts. Bundled products include Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP), which covers the difference (or gap) between the amount a consumer owes on an auto loan and what their insurance pays if the vehicle is stolen, damaged, or totaled. Toyota Motor Credit also offers Credit Life and Accidental Health (CLAH) coverage, which covers the remaining balance if a borrower dies or becomes disabled, and vehicle service agreements, which reimburse borrowers for parts and service beyond what is covered by the manufacturer warranty.

The cost of the bundled products, financed by Toyota Motor Credit, averaged between $700 and $2,500 per loan. Including these products in a vehicle sale or lease can significantly increase the loan amount, monthly payment, and finance charge. Toyota Motor Credit profits from the sale of these products by collecting more finance charges on the increased loan amount.