The CFPB has issued its January 2017 complaint report that highlights mortgage complaints. The report also highlights complaints from consumers in Tennessee and the Memphis and Nashville metro areas.
General findings include the following:
- As of January 1, 2017, the CFPB handled approximately 1,080,700 complaints nationally, including approximately 22,900 complaints in December 2016.
- Debt collection continued to be the most-complained-about financial product or service in December 2016, representing about 31 percent of complaints submitted. Debt collection complaints, together with complaints about credit reporting and mortgages, collectively represented about 65 percent of the complaints submitted in December 2016.
- Complaints about student loans showed the greatest percentage increase based on a three-month average, increasing about 109 percent from the same time last year (October to December 2015 compared with October to December 2016). In February 2016, the CFPB began accepting complaints about federal student loans. Previously, such complaints were directed to the Department of Education. As we have noted in blog posts about prior complaint reports issued beginning in April 2016, rather than reflecting an increase in the number of borrowers making student loan complaints, the increase most likely reflects the change in where such complaints are sent.
- Prepaid card complaints showed the greatest percentage decrease based on a three-month average, decreasing about 59 percent from the same time last year (October to December 2015 compared with October to December 2016). Complaints during those periods decreased from 458 complaints in 2015 to 189 complaints in 2016. Prepaid cards also showed the greatest decrease based on a three-month average in the November and December 2016 complaint reports.
- Payday loan complaints in December 2016 were 23 percent less than payday loan complaints in November 2016, representing the product with the greatest month-over-month decrease in complaints.
- Alaska, Georgia, and Louisiana experienced the greatest complaint volume increases from the same time last year (October to December 2015 compared with October to December 2016) with increases of, respectively, 57, 46, and 32 percent.
- Wyoming, Vermont, and Delaware experienced the greatest complaint volume decreases from the same time last year (October to December 2015 compared with October to December 2016) with decreases of, respectively, 20, 19, and 12 percent.
Findings regarding mortgage complaints include the following:
- The CFPB has handled approximately 260,500 mortgage complaints.
- The CFPB found a trend of consumers increasingly identifying issues relating to the issue of “making payments” (which covers loan servicing, payments, escrow accounts).
- Consumers reported issues involving escrow account shortages, such as the misapplication of funds resulting in an increase in the monthly payment and a lack of explanation for shortages. Other escrow-related issues included the servicer’s purchase of hazard insurance despite the consumer’s provision of proof of coverage and the servicer’s failure to timely submit insurance payments resulting in inadequate coverage.
- Consumers complained about the loss of timely payments by servicers resulting in negative credit reporting and improper crediting by servicers of electronic monthly payments made via bill pay services through their financial institutions..
- Consumers attempting to negotiate loss mitigation assistance complained that servicers were slow to respond, made repeated requests for already submitted documents, and provided ambiguous denial reasons.
Findings regarding complaints from Tennessee consumers include the following:
- As of January 1, 2017, approximately 17,800 complaints were submitted by Tennessee consumers of which approximately 4,700 and 5,800 were from Memphis and Nashville consumers, respectively.
- Debt collection was the most-complained-about product, representing 34 percent of all complaints submitted by Tennessee consumers, which was higher than the national average rate of 27 percent of all complaints submitted by consumers.
- Average monthly complaints received from Tennessee consumers increased 8 percent from the same time last year (October to December 2015 to October to December 2016), lower than the increase of 12 percent nationally.