Insights into the August 2015 CFPB Complaint Snapshot

Since the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau was created as a part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2011, a key component of its work has been handling consumer complaints from across the country.

Each month the CFPB releases a snapshot of these complaints (You can view the complete report here.). The August 2015 used a three-month rolling average to compile data — which is significant for company-level data as companies have 60 days to respond to all complaints.

The August 2015 snapshot provides some interesting insight into not only where the CFPB may turn their regulatory attention but where consumers are feeling most frustrated.

A Look at National Trends

As of August 1, 2015 the CFPB reports that it has handled 677,200 complaints nationally. The largest share of these – 31 percent – was in regards to debt collection while the second largest share was complaints about credit reporting.

Compliance officers should take note as the third most popular complaint was regarding mortgages. In fact, while the two most-complained-about companies were the credit reporting agencies Equifax and Experian, seven of the top ten were banks and lenders including Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase and Citibank.

It’s also worth noting that the product with the largest increase in consumer complaints was the consumer loan, which saw a 61 percent increase in total complaints over the same period in 2014.

Snapshot: Los Angeles

This month the CFPB also provided a detailed look at complaints from the Los Angeles metropolitan area – the second largest metro area by population in the United States.

Bucking the national trend, the most-complained-about products in Los Angeles were mortgages. According to the report, consumers in Los Angeles submitted mortgage complaints at a higher rate than the national average: 35 percent of total complaints versus 28 percent nationally. Los Angeles also experienced fewer debt collection and credit reporting complaints than the national average.

Here banks and lenders also rounded out the top ten most-complained-about companies. While Equifax, Experian and Transunion all placed in the top six, the two most-often-mentioned companies were Bank of America and Wells Fargo with JP Morgan Chase, Ocwen, Citibank, Nationstar Mortgage and Capital One also making the list.

What Can We Learn?

As the CFPB works to investigate customer complaints, banks and other financial institutions should work to address complaints as quickly and efficiently as possible.

More importantly, though, careful monitoring and attention to fair lending decisions can help curb these complaints in the first place. For more information on how to put these processes in place or advice on making your current data work for you, contact us here.

Posted in Fair Lending Blog, Fair Lending Hot Topics.

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