Business

Consumers could soon find it easier to sue their banks

It could soon be easier for consumers to sue banks and other companies that sell financial products.

Associated Press/File photos

It could soon be easier for consumers to sue banks and other companies that sell financial products.

WASHINGTON — The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is getting closer to creating rules that would make it easier for consumers to sue banks, credit card issuers, and other companies selling financial products.

The proposals being considered target arbitration clauses — restrictions often included in the fine print of contracts for financial products such as credit cards, student loans, and checking accounts — that the average person knows little about.

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The clauses typically bar people from suing companies or joining class action lawsuits when legal issues come up, instead steering them into arbitration, a process that some critics say is often stacked in the company’s favor.

The rules being considered by the CFPB would prohibit companies from blocking class action lawsuits. Companies also would be required to report the outcomes of arbitration cases to the CFPB.

The bureau will meet with small business groups this month to discuss the rules. A formal rule proposal could come this year.

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