The regulations building consumer trust

Consumer trust isn’t just something that companies solve for. An ecosystem of regulating bodies and compliance frameworks is designed to bolster the relationship between consumers and financial institutions.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau arguably leads the charge in this effort. Its most recent Consumer Response Annual Report for 2022, for instance, asserts that the CFPB processed approximately 1,287,000 consumer complaints last year, and sent 820,000 of those to 3,000 companies for response and remediation.

The following regulations steer the CFPB, and also shape the kinds of complaints consumers file over the course of a year.


The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 established the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as an agency solving for fairness and transparency for consumer financial products and services. Between its founding and 2017, the CFPB helped more than 29 million consumers recover almost $12 billion in refunds and canceled debts.

However, the CFPB’s status has been at risk. A series of constitutional challenges have thrown the CFPB’s authority in question, namely due to its leadership and funding structures. The latter challenge has yet to be fully resolved, which may force lawmakers to reconsider—or entirely rewire—how the CFPB functions.

Interest rates

Though it may not appear as a direct regulation shaping consumer trust, the Fed’s power over interest rates intimately shapes how consumers interact with financial institutions. Higher interest rates tighten budgets, and make consumers particularly sensitive to fees—especially how they’re communicated and levied.

In that respect, it’s no coincidence that, in 2022, the CFPB saw 75% of its consumer complaints have to do with credit or consumer reporting. Interest rate hikes affected consumer credit and spending patterns, leading to greater friction between consumers and the FIs they use.

Student loans

And that tension isn’t going away soon. With student loan repayments resuming on October 1st, already cash-strapped consumers will face further strain.

“We have to help prepare the 60% of Americans that do not have $400 or $500 saved, period, in emergency savings,” said Laurel Taylor, Founder, CEO & Chairwoman of Candidly, in an interview with The Financial Revolutionist. “We're now asking those same Americans to find $400 a month [for loan repayments].”

The CFPB may anticipate an uptick in complaints, adding further strain to a regulatory body whose future is uncertain.