Home > Personal Finance > New Consumer Bureau Wants To Be Your Friend

Comments 5 Comments
Advertiser Disclosure


CFPBThe Consumer Financial Protection Bureau launched its website last week, and already it has 1,288 Facebook friends. There are videos of bureau employees responding to comments posted by consumers on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube.

In short, this is not your grandfather’s federal agency.

“For the first time in many years we have the opportunity to create a brand-new consumer agency from the ground up,” Elizabeth Warren, a former Harvard professor who is leading the effort to start the new agency, says in a video on the site. “We want to make sure that you are with us all the way while we build it.”

[Resource: Do-It-Yourself Debt Reduction]

She’s doing a good job so far. Take a minute to compare the bureau’s new site with the older website of its closest cousin, the FTC’s Consumer Protection Bureau. Like most websites for federal agencies, the Consumer Protection Bureau’s site is really ugly, with buttons and links layered on top of one anther, giving consumers no intuitive place to go once they arrive.

The CFPB’s new site, on the other hand, is very Web 3.0. Lots of white space. A simple bar across the top with navigation options.

And then there’s the much-balyhooed links to social media. Warren has said she wants the first consumer agency of the 21st Century to actually operate like it’s of this century, which means supplementing the cumbersome old complaint process (“Write us a letter, wait two years and maybe we’ll get back to you”) with a streamlined approach that relies on Twitter and Facebook to learn of new financial scams as they’re developing.

[Credit.com Survey: Only 50 Percent Have Recently Checked Their Credit Reports]

“We wanted to start the website for one very important reason,” Warren says in the site’s first video, “to start a conversation with you.”

As one might expect, so far that conversation is all over the map. A single thread on the bureau’s Facebook page contains a suggestion for a federal usury law, a request for help in finding a trustworthy financial advisor, and a complaint that “Banking institutions have become wilder than the outlaws of the old west.”

Of course, there may be an ulterior motive for the agency to work so hard at building an online community. Large banks and leading Republicans have made no secret of their wish to gut the new bureau’s power, either by cutting its budget rewriting parts of the Dodd-Frank reform law that created it. The bureau needs friends, fast, and it’s unlikely to find many on Wall Street.

Luckily for the bureau, it added three new Facebook friends in the time it took me to write this post. Its total as of right now: 1,291.

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Credit.com receives compensation for the financial products and services advertised on this site if our users apply for and sign up for any of them. Compensation is not a factor in the substantive evaluation of any product.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team