Over the past two years, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau received more complaints on a per-capita basis from consumers living in predominantly minority counties than from consumers in predominantly white, non-Hispanic counties.
According to analysis of complaints received in 2019 and 2020, consumers in counties with the highest percentage of minority population submitted complaints at over four times the rate compared to counties with the lowest percentage of minority population, the agency said.
During those two years, complaints increased across all demographic groups, but they rose at a greater rate in predominantly minority counties — those with minority populations of more 60 percent, based on the U.S. Census 2019 American Community Survey — compared to predominantly white, non-Hispanic counties.
Consumers living in predominantly minority counties submitted more complaints on a per capita basis in nearly every one of the 11 product categories about which the Bureau accepts complaints. Of those product categories, credit or consumer reporting appears to cause significantly more issues for consumers in predominantly minority counties.
“Consumer complaints support and inform the CFPB’s work, and provide key insight into emerging trends in the financial marketplace,” said CFPB Acting Director Dave Uejio in a release. “Today’s report shows that while all people across the nation face financial hardships, a significantly higher rate of complaints come from ethnically diverse communities. The data raise concerns that deserve our further study and, as such, we’ll keep a spotlight on patterns or any abuses we see.”
The CFPB said it would soon expand demographic collection to include household size and income, adding options on its complaint submission forms for consumers to report this information. The CFPB will also begin exploring what additional information it may need to help better understand the experiences of diverse communities that submit complaints, it said.
The move is the latest in a string of actions and statements from Uejio signaling the bureau’s return to its more stringent roots under the Obama administration. The CFPB has recently proposed a foreclosure ban, backed the CDC’s eviction moratorium and signaled an aggressive stance on payday lending.