May 16, 2013

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is launching a Spanish language website to consumer complaints can be submitted that is optimized for mobile, according to a statement released yesterday by the CFPB.

The website will include financial literacy information for consumers, and aims to help the Latino population, which has been hit hard by the recession, the statement said. Latinos are more likely to be underbanked, according to the CFPB, and more likely to be targeted by financial schemes. The statement cited Census data that showed that of the 37 million U.S. residents who primarily speak Spanish at home, 45% don’t speak English very well.

“Like many consumers, immigrant communities may struggle to understand consumer financial products and services. Their struggles are compounded by cultural adjustments and language barriers, which can make them prime targets for exploitation,” Richard Cordray, the CFPB’s director, said in an official statement yesterday. “Recognizing these challenges, we wanted to provide our Spanish-speaking audience with access to clear, unbiased information about financial products.”

The Spanish language site was optimized for mobile because more than 75% of Latinos use a mobile device to access the internet at least occasionally, the CFPB’s statement said, citing research from the Pew Hispanic Center National Survey of Latinos. Cordray added that almost two-thirds of the Latinos who regularly access the internet in this country tend to do so through a mobile device.

[See Related: A 21st Century Agency: Q&A With CFPB's Chris Willey]

The site will include an interactive FAQ section where consumers can click or tap on questions to gain more information about more than 250 common financial problems including paying for college and sending remittances overseas.

Jonathan Camhi is a graduate of the City University of New York's Graduate School of Journalism, where he focused on international reporting and interned at the Hindustan Times in Delhi, ...