Enacted in response to the 2007-2008 crisis, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB, is a government agency responsible for consumer protection in the financial sector. One of the primary functions of the bureau’s Office of Consumer Response is to listen to the challenges faced by consumers and bring their complaints to the attention of the concerned companies or organizations or, in some cases, the related federal agencies.
In 2017, the CFPB received more than 24,000 complaints per month on average — or a total 320,200 from January to December. Consumers submitted complaints across various channels (the CFPB website, phone, traditional mail, email, and fax), and the complaints were for a range of financial products or services, including credit cards, bank accounts and services, mortgages, private student loans, money transfers, credit reporting, debt collection, credit repair and debt settlement, virtual currency, pawn and title loans, federal student loan servicing, and payday loans.
2017 CFPB Complaints – The Highlights
Using the data published by the CFPB in its Consumer Response Annual Report, which you can download here, we’re putting the spotlight on some of the most notable CFPB complaint trends for 2017.
Debt collection is the most complained-about consumer financial product or service.
Since the CFPB’s inception in July 2011, debt collection has received the most number of consumer complaints. Thirty-nine percent — or 377,300 — of the 960,000 complaints lodged from July 21, 2011 to December 31, 2017 were about debt collection.
What’s particularly noteworthy about the 2017 data is that a big chunk of the debt collection complaints stemmed from unauthorized transactions, as 39 percent of consumers reported problems with debts on their credit or consumer reports that they did not recognize.
Credit and Consumer Reporting
Incorrect credit or consumer reporting is on the rise.
Credit and consumer reporting may not have garnered the most number of complaints overall. But in 2017, it was the most complained about, generating approximately 100,000 complaints, or 31 percent of the year’s total, compared to 84,500 for debt collection.
Of that 100,000, more than half — or an astounding 55 percent — were because of incorrect information on consumers’ reports. These included consumers claiming they were victims of identity theft.
Problems with payment processing are in the top 10 of the most submitted complaints.
In 2017, 41 percent of mortgage complaints, 8 percent of credit card complaints, and 32 percent of personal loan complaints involved payment processing. Among other things, consumers had problems with automatic payments, preauthorized electronic fund transfers, and overdrawn accounts because of excess monthly payments.
Save Yourself and Your Customers the Trouble
While it does seem like the CFPB is solely about consumer financial protection, the bureau also serves businesses well. For one, the 2017 complaints report we referenced puts a focus on the pain points consumers experience with financial products and services, and businesses keen to address consumer difficulties are likely to win more customers on their side.
PaymentVision’s payment processing and accounts verification platform is one way to nip most consumer financial problems in the bud. A lot of the CFPB’s debt collection and credit reporting complaints point to either identity theft or ineffective payment processing systems as the culprit. Therefore, it pays to provide your customers with a secure and compliant solution for all their payment needs. Get in touch with PaymentVision to learn how.