CFPB Publishes 50-State Complaint Report
Inside Subprime: Nov 19, 2018
By Ben Moore
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has released a report called “Complaint Snapshot: 50 State Report” that provides complaint data on a state-by-state basis for the United States, including the District of Columbia.
One of the major functions of the Bureau is “collecting, investigating, and responding to consumer complaints” through the Bureau’s Office of Consumer Response, and then providing a report on those complaints. This annual report is then utilized by loan providers and financial product companies to review their own standards and practices, ensuring they remain aligned with the Bureau’s financial standards. But while the report is used to ensure ethical vigilance within financial services companies, the report could have a much larger impact than that. Acting Director of the CFPB, Mick Mulvaney, recently emphasized the importance of analyzing complaint data as a means to allocate budget across the Bureau, with poor performing departments potentially receiving budget cuts.
Between January 2017 and June 2018, the Bureau received 494,540 complaints (a 12 percent increase from the previous year’s report), with 98 percent of those complaints receiving timely responses. The top complaint categories included debt collection, credit or consumer reporting, mortgages, credit cards, and checking and savings account complaints.
One of the major highlights from the report is that the Bureau has received more than 60,000 complaints from consumers in California, the state with the most complaints in the nation. The state saw a significant increase in complaints regarding credit and consumer reporting (the top issue reported was incorrect information listed on a credit report), with these complaints making up 30 percent of the total for the state. These complaints made up only 17 percent of the total for the previous year. California did see a slight decline in complaints regarding debt collection, down to 26 percent compared to the previous year’s 28 percent.
Florida and Texas also saw large volumes of complaints. Florida received more than 46,000 complaints, with the majority regarding credit and consumer reporting. These complaints accounted for 34 percent of the total compared to 24 percent in the previous year. The state of Texas also saw over 45,000 complaints, with 32 percent of those regarding debt collection agencies’ attempts to resolve debts.
Out of all 50 states, Wyoming saw the least amount of complaints, with only 386 complaints recorded, an average of about 21 per month. The state saw an increase in complaints regarding credit and consumer reporting, with customers complaining about incorrect information on their credit reports, while the majority of complaints came from customers complaining about debt collection attempts.
Complaints to the CFPB can be easily sent through their online portal and can be made about a variety of consumer financial products, including debt collection, vehicle title loans, payday loans, personal loans, and money transfers. All complaints are published on their public Consumer Complaint Database, which can be accessed by anyone searching for more information on an issue they are encountering with a financial product.