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As it continues to expand the scope of its operations, the federal agency in charge of protecting consumers' finances recently announced it would begin including another financial product in its purview.

The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced earlier this week that it would now field Americans' complaints and questions related to their traditional checking accounts, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. This is in addition to already accepting comments about credit cards and mortgages and overseeing some types of financial products offered by nonbank lenders, such as student loans.

In particular, the CFPB is interested to hear consumers' thoughts on their checking accounts, the report said. New information from Javelin Strategy and Research reveals consumers are now paying about 26 percent more for this type of account than they were in 2002, and that number is expected to go up in the near future as banks continue to deal with the fallout of heavier regulation that limits revenues. The CFPB says close to nine out of every 10 homes in the U.S. have at least one checking account and the agreements related to them can often be complex.

"Consumers need someone on their side to keep banks and credit unions accountable - that is our job at the Consumer Bureau," Richard Cordray, the CFPB's top executive, said in announcing the new plan, according to the newspaper.

The CFPB has been working hard to expand the number of areas of the financial services industry it oversees since it gained full regulatory power in July 2011. However, it had operated for much of that time without an top executive, and has rapidly picked up the pace of rolling out new protections since Cordray took office.