CFPB Releases Complaint Report
The CFPB on Monday released its latest monthly consumer complaints snapshot, which highlighted mortgage complaints. According to the report, consumers continued to face problems with mortgage servicing, particularly when they applied for a loan modification to avoid foreclosure.
As of Sept. 1, the Bureau had handled more than 702,900 complaints across all products.
“Despite strong protections that have been put in place to protect homeowners, this month’s complaint report shows consumers are still having problems when dealing with their mortgages,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray said. “The bureau will continue to work to make sure that consumers are being treated fairly on their mortgage issues.”
Company-level complaint data in the report used a three-month rolling average of complaints sent by the CFPB to companies for response. This data lagged other complaint data in the report by two months to reflect that companies were expected to close all but the most complicated complaints within 60 days. After the CFPB forwarded a company the complaint, the company also had 15 days to respond, confirming a commercial relationship with the consumer.
For August 2015, the financial product or service receiving the most complaints was debt collection, representing about 29% of complaints submitted. Credit reporting received the second most complaints, accounting for 5,733. Overall, the CFPB received 972 fewer complaints in August than in July.
In a year-to-year comparison of June through August, consumer loan complaints, which include pawn loans, title loans and installment loans, showed the greatest percentage increase – 47% – nearly doubling from the same period last year. Payday loan complaints showed the greatest percentage decrease – 12% – over the same three period between 2014 and 2015, dropping from 526 complaints in 2014 to 463 in 2015.
Nebraska and Nevada experienced the greatest complaint volume increases from the same time last year by a considerable margin. The volume of complaints from Nebraska rose by 54%, while Nevada’s complaint volume increased by 45%. The next largest increase was North Carolina, where complaint volume rose by 36% compared to the same time period last year.
The top three companies about which the CFPB received the most complaints remained unchanged from last month’s report: Equifax, Experian and Bank of America.
With a total value topping $10 trillion, the mortgage market is the largest consumer financial marketplace in the country. Since the CFPB began accepting consumer complaints in 2011, it has received more mortgage-related complaints than any other type of financial product. As of Sept. 1, the CFPB had handled approximately 192,500 mortgage-related complaints.
Some of the mortgage-specific findings included:
- More than half of mortgage complaints had to do with problems consumers faced when they were unable to make payments. Consumers complained of delays and a lack of information when applying for a loan modification. Additionally, consumers complained that servicers often moved forward with foreclosure proceedings while the consumer’s modification application was still under review.
- Consumers reported experiencing confusion and frustration about where to make payments when loans were transferred. When the loan transfers occurred, consumers complained that payments often increased unexpectedly. Consumers also said they did not feel properly informed about their loans being transferred in the first place.
- Nearly one-third of mortgage complaints came from consumers saying that they had trouble making payments on their mortgage loans. Consumers described companies not accepting payments of anything less than the full balance owed or finding that their payments were not properly applied.
- Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Ocwen were the three companies about which the CFPB had received the most mortgage-related complaints. Between April and June 2015, the three companies averaged around 430 complaints per month.