Consumer Complaints Rise at CFPB

Jun 5, 2019 | Federal Regulation, News

People submitted more complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Consumer Complaint Database in 2018 than in any previous year, according to a report by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) Education Fund.

The CFPB has published more than 1.1 million complaints since the agency established the complaint database in 2011. About 257,000 complaints, a quarter of all complaints, were published in 2018 alone.

The analysis found that 10 companies were responsible for nearly half of all the complaints, including the three major credit bureaus, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, Capital One, Navient, and Ocwen. Equifax is responsible for the most complaints of any company, receiving more than 104,000 since 2011 with more than 30,000 complaints in 2018 alone.

U.S. PIRG also reviewed the share of complaints that resulted in monetary or non-monetary relief. Experian, followed by Citibank and Bank of America, resolved the highest share of complaints ending in relief.  

Although the three major credit bureaus received a high number of complaints, it might be a result of scale, according to Francis Creighton, president and CEO of the Consumer Data Industry Association. “The three national credit reporting agencies are uniquely positioned in the market,” said Creighton. “There’s no company the CFPB regulates that has more individual U.S. people involved than the three credit bureaus. When you have that many files, it’s really not surprising that the scale of these companies results in the highest number of raw complaints.”

Nonetheless, U.S. PIRG urged the CFPB to take action to protect consumers, including monitoring compliance of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, introducing stricter verification standards for credit bureaus, and drafting a rule on debt collection.

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