Nearly 100 percent of complaints requiring a response submitted to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau receive timely resolution, according to the bureau’s latest annual report.
Approximately 196,900 (or 68 percent) of the 291,400 complaints handled by the CFPB in 2016 were sent on to companies for review and response (the remaining 32 percent were largely referred to other agencies or incomplete). Ninety-seven percent of those complaints received “timely responses” the report said.
Those nearly 300,000 complaints represent a 7 percent increase from the 271,600 received in 2015. As of March 1, the bureau has handled approximately 1.1 million complaints since it began accepting them in 2011.
Debt collection, credit reporting and mortgages were the top three most-complained-about consumer financial products and services, accounting for 30 percent, 19 percent and 18 percent. Collectively, they represented two-thirds of complaints submitted in 2016, about the same as their share of 2015 complaints.
“There is much to be learned from the questions consumers ask and the complaints consumers submit about the financial industry,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “By closely analyzing complaint patterns, we are able to identify spikes in specific complaint types; emerging trends; issues with new and evolving products; and patterns across geographic areas, companies, and consumer demographics. These insights help us prioritize our own supervision and enforcement work and ask better and more targeted questions when examining a company’s records.”
“With the help of complaints, we dig deeply into potentially unfair practices so we can prevent minor issues from becoming major problems,” Cordray said. “We also use complaints to identify opportunities to educate and empower consumers about the marketplace and their rights and to understand what the rules of the road should be when we consider and undertake rulemaking.”