Politics & MoneyMortgage

CFPB releases first monthly snapshot of consumer complaint database

Report shows lenders trends in consumer complaints

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has always published annual reports based on the consumer complaints it collects, but for the first time, the bureau will release monthly reports that provide insight on trends and analyses found in the complaints.

“Consumer complaints are the CFPB’s compass and play a central role in everything we do. They help us identify and prioritize problems for potential action,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “These monthly reports will enable us to share that data with the public more regularly, so that everyone can benefit from the information.”

Today’s report provides complaint highlights as of July 1, 2015. Information includes:

Complaint volume: For June 2015, the most-complained-about financial product or service was debt collection, representing about 32% of complaints submitted. Of the 23,400 complaints handled, more than 7,400 of them were about debt collection. The second most-complained-about consumer product was mortgages, accounting for more than 4,700 complaints. Credit reporting, came in third, accounting for more than 4,300 complaints.

Product trends: Consumer loan complaints showed the greatest percentage increase from the same time last year, nearly doubling from approximately 660 complaints to 1,020 complaints on average per month.

State information: Hawaii, West Virginia, and Maine experienced the greatest complaint volume increases from the same time last year; with Hawaii up 41%, and West Virginia and Maine up 38%. South Dakota, Iowa, and Rhode Island experienced the greatest complaint volume decrease from the same time last year, with South Dakota down 40%, Iowa down 14%, and Rhode Island down 12%.

Most-complained-about companies: While company-level information should be considered in the context of company size, the top three companies that received the most complaints from CFPB for February through April 2015 were Equifax, Experian, and Bank of America. Equifax experienced the greatest jump in complaints over the same period last year, up 8%.

Mortgage servicer Ocwen experienced the greatest decrease in average monthly complaint volume, down 29% from the same period last year. This comes after a 2014 settlement with the New York Department of Financial Services, where Ocwen was forbidden from acquiring additional mortgage servicing rights without prior approval from NYDFS. And in December the nonbank announced that it was planning to exit agency servicing altogether and has been consistently selling off servicing rights since then.  

The report also includes information about debt collection through the CFPB’s Product Spotlight and information on Milwaukee through their Geographic Spotlight.

The hope is that by drawing attention to the specific complaints, companies will respond to the problems with solutions in a timely manner. The CFPB is also trying to expand its complaint handling system to include other products and services.

“By examining issues, companies, and geographic trends on a particular product, consumers and industry will have greater insight to take corrective actions.”

The Monthly Complaint Report can be found here.

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