CFPB: Complaints against Ocwen are falling

Nonbank showing improvement in consumer complaints

Perhaps constantly being under the microscope of regulators is having a positive impact on Ocwen Financial (OCN) and its standing with its customers.

According to a new report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, complaints about Ocwen dropped by a significant margin in the last year.

The data comes from the CFPB’s latest snapshot report about its consumer complaint database, which showed that complaints about Ocwen in the last three months are down by 16% over the same time period last year.

According to the CFPB, that’s the largest decrease of any company in its list of the top 10 most-complained-about companies.

The decrease in complaints about Ocwen could be seen by some as surprising, considering that Ocwen failed four servicing metrics in the second half of 2014, according to a new report filed by Joseph Smith, monitor of the National Mortgage Settlement.

According to Smith, Ocwen failed to adequately provide pre-foreclosure initiation notification letters, did not properly adhere to guidance on fees, did not comply with the short sale document collection timeline, and had a “widespread” failure to adequately provide loan modification notice disclosures.

In a statement issued in October about the NMS results, Ocwen said that the failures were being addressed, noting that the issues all took place during the second half of 2014 and were not reflective of the company’s current practices.

"The specific metrics mentioned in this report are from the third and fourth quarters of 2014, and not a reflection of our current operations,” Ocwen said at the time.

“They have all been addressed with Corrective Action Plans approved by (the Office of Mortgage Oversight) and implemented by Ocwen in 2015,” the company continued. “We also note that the Monitor’s report specifically discusses that Ocwen has cured its potential violation regarding termination of lender-placed insurance and passed that metric during the cure period in the fourth quarter of 2014."

Ocwen also has constant monitoring of its practices as part of the Dec. 2014 $150 million settlement with the New York Department of Financial Services over its servicing practices.

According to the CFPB’s report, overall complaints about mortgages are up 9% in the time period of August-October 2015 compared to the same time period last year.

Despite being up for the last three months, mortgage complaints in the month of October were actually down slightly (-0.6%) compared to September.

Overall, the CFPB said that as of Nov. 1, 2015, it has handled 749,400 complaints nationally.

For Oct. 2015, the most-complained-about financial product or service was debt collection, representing about 28% of complaints submitted, the CFPB said. Of the 24,300 complaints handled by the CFPB in October, approximately 6,903 of them were about debt collection.

The second most-complained-about consumer product was credit reporting, accounting for approximately 4,588 complaints, the CFPB said.

Overall, the CFPB said it saw a 6% rise in complaint volume between September and October 2015.

The CFPB said that Debt collection, credit reporting, and mortgage complaints continue to be the top three most-complained-about consumer financial products and services, collectively representing about 66% of complaints submitted in Oct. 2015.

The top three companies about which the CFPB received the most complaints between June and August of 2015 were the three largest credit reporting agencies, Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.

According to the CFPB, TransUnion’s complaint volume nearly doubled from the same time period in 2014.

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