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CFPB Consumers complain about credit cards mortgages
WASHINGTON (2/3/12)--The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) began taking credit card complaints from consumers on July 21 and mortgage complaints on Dec. 1.   As of Dec. 31, its Consumer Response team had received 13,210 consumer complaints, including 9,307 complaints about credit cards and 2,326 complaints about mortgages, CFPB said in its Semi-Annual Report Monday.

Of those complaints, 44% were submitted through CFPB's website, and 14.7% through telephone calls. Referrals from other regulators accounted for 34.9% of complaints received, and the remainder were submitted via mail, e-mail and fax, the report said.

Roughly  6,470  complaints--or  69% of all complaints about credit cards--fell into 10 basic categories. Billing disputes, identity theft/fraud/embezzlement, and annual percentage rate (APR) /interest rate issues were the most received complaints. The categories, with the number of complaints and percentage of complaints are:

  1. Billing disputes -- 1,278 complaints or 13.7%;
  1. Identity theft/fraud/embezzlement-- 1,014 complaints or 10.9%;
  1. Annual percentage rate/interest rate--950 or 10.2%;
  1. Other--854 or 9.2%;
  1. Closing/cancelling amount--478 or 5.1%;
  1. Credit reporting--437 or 4.7%;
  1. Credit card payment/debt protection--383 or 4.1%;
  1. Collection practices--378 or 4.1%;
  1. Late fee--364 or 3.9%;
  1. Other fee--334 or 3.6%.
The bureau noted that consumers are interpreting these categories differently. For example, one consumer would choose "billing dispute" to categorize a problem while another would categorize it as an "interest-rate" issue.  It may revise the options over time to promote consistent categorization.

Mortgage complaints totaled 2,326, with 100% of them falling into six types of complaints. The top complaints were in the areas of inability to pay for the loan, other, and problems with the process of making the payments. The six areas, and the number and percentages of complaints are:

  • Inability to pay (loan modification, collection, foreclosure)--889 complaints or 38.2%;
  • Other--540 or 23.2%;
  • Making payments (loan servicing, payments, escrow accounts)--501 or 21.5%;
  • Applying for the loan (application, originator, mortgage broker) --235 or 10.1%;
  • Signing the agreement (settlement process and costs)--96 or 4.1%;
  • Receiving a credit offer (credit decision/underwriting)--65 or 2.8%.
 

The bureau sent 75% of the total complaints, or 9,885, to companies for review and response. Here's how they responded:

  • 5,476 or 55.4% of the companies reported the issue was closed with relief;
  • 3,028 or 30.6% reported the issue was closed without relief;
  • 203 or 2.1% provided administrative response;
  • 1,178 or 11.9% of the companies were reviewing the complaint.
Roughly 7,349 of the company responses were made available to the consumers who complained and the consumers were given 30 days to notify CFPB if they wanted to dispute the company's response. Of those consumers:

  • 3,448 or 47.5% were still reviewing the company's reported resolution;
  • 2,910 or 39.3% did not dispute the company's reported resolution;
  • 951 or 12.9% disputed the company's reported resolution.
Use the link to access the full report.
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