Author Topic: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is secretly collecting millions of consumer credit card accounts, mortgages  (Read 158 times)

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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is secretly collecting millions of consumer credit card accounts, mortgages
Posted on January 31, 2014 by Joe from MassPrivateI


Officials at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) are conducting a massive,NSA-esque data-mining project collecting account information on an estimated 991 million American credit card accounts.

It was also learned at a Congressional hearing Tuesday that CFPB officials are working with the Federal Housing Finance Agency on a second data-mining effort, this one focused on the 53 million residential mortgages taken out by Americans since 1998. 

The mortgage information is being compiled in a database that can be “reversed engineered” by hackers seeking information for identify theft, according to an expert cited during the hearing.

“This is one step closer to a Big Brother form of government where they know everything about us,” said Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis.

Neugebauer pressed Cordray on the possibility of reverse-engineering of the mortgage database. “Can this data be reverse-engineered?” he asked.

“We’re concerned about making sure that does not happen as much as possible,” Cordray answered. “I don’t need that headache.”

The revelations came in a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee, during which CFPB Director Richard Cordray was repeatedly pressed about federal officials rummaging around in the private financial affairs of millions of Americans.

“We’re collecting aggregated information,” Cordray told the committee while defending the bureau’s data-mining efforts.

Neugebauer remarked that CFPB “and NSA are in a contest of who can collect the most information.”

According to Steven Antonakes, the bureau’s deputy director, CFPB’s program mines credit card accounts maintained by 18 of the largest card issuers in the United States.

CFPB has signed a four-year, $2.9 million contract with Argus Information and Advisory Services to obtain credit card data from nine of the issuers, according to documents made available by the committee.

The contract is to end March 2017, according to, a government database that tracks federal spending.

A memorandum of understanding signed with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency permits Argus to obtain data from nine other credit card issuers.

In previous testimony before Rep. Jeb Hensarling’s panel, Antonakes said “the combined data represents approximately 85-90 percent of outstanding card balances.”

The Argus contract specifies that the company must collect 96 “data points” from each of the participating card issuers for each credit card account on a monthly basis.

The 96 data points include a unique card-account identification reference number, ZIP code, monthly ending balance, borrower’s income, FICO score, credit limit, monthly payment amount, and days past due.

“Would you object to getting permission from consumers, those people who you work for, before you collect and monitor their information?” Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., asked Cordray.

“That would make it impossible to get the data,” Cordray replied.

“You can’t even opt out,” Duffy said. “The NSA does not ask Americans’ permission to collect their phone records and emails and texts. The CFPB does not ask permission to collect information on America’s financial consumers.”

A committee aide estimated that over the life of the Argus contract, the company will collect about 51 terabytes of data, or the equivalent of all the text in all the books in 50 large libraries.

 Morgan Drexen, a company that designs and delivers integrated support systems to attorneys across the United States, filed a lawsuit to block the CFPB from taking enforcement action against the company and asked the court to declare that the bureau is unconstitutional because it violates the Constitution’s separation of powers. (The CFPB sued Morgan Drexen back for “charging advance fees for debt relief services in violation of the Telemarketing Sales Rule and engaged in deceptive acts and practices in violation of the Consumer Financial Protection Act.”) – See more at:

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