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Inability to Pay Mortgage Tops Consumer Complaints to CFPB

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), issues involving mortgages (19%), credit cards (18%), and credit or consumer reporting (18%) were among the top consumer complaints received from January through May 2020 that reference coronavirus keywords.

More than 8,000 complaints were analyzed, with the results summarized in a new Complaint Bulletin.

Complaints about these consumer financial products and services in which the COVID-19 keyword’s cited includes these highlights:

  • In 55% of mortgage complaints, struggling to pay the mortgage was the issue referred to by consumers;
  • In 23% of complaints centering on credit cards, consumers pinpointed a problem with purchase shown or statement as the issue;
  • In 55% of credit or consumer reporting complaints, incorrect information on their credit report was the issue called out by consumers

Contrasting the weekly average volume of complaints prior to and following the declaration of the coronavirus emergency, at 105%, prepaid card complaints experienced the highest uptick. Conversely, student loan complaints, at 24%, staked the largest drop.

From March through May 2020, around 1,000 complaints citing coronavirus keywords were submitted by servicemembers. A total of 10% of complaints they lodged were rooted in COVID, topping the 6% of complaints raised by non-servicemembers.

Approximately 300 complaints mentioning coronavirus keywords from March through May 2020 were registered by older Americans; those at least 62 years of age. COVID was at the crux of 10% of the complaints they submitted. Non-older consumer complaints were 7%.

About 300 complaints citing coronavirus keywords from March through May 2020 were lodged by older Americans; those at least 62 years of age. COVID-19 was at the crux of 10% of their complaints. It was 7% for non-older consumer complaints.

As of the latter part of last month, there a 31% increase in complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in 2020 compared to last year, according to a report by Nerd Wallet.

The inability of consumers to pay their mortgages at 16% was the leading complaint the CFPB fielded tied directly to COVID-19. “Mortgage” was labeled as the primary financial product by 20% of complaints to the CFPB, Nerd Wallet stated.

“In reading through those labeled as mortgage complaints, we found many consumers frustrated with the lack of relief provided by mortgage forbearance offers,” the report added. Namely, there was consumers discontent that full repayments of delayed installments—known as a balloon payment—at the conclusion of the forbearance period, was required by lenders.

About Author: Chuck Green

Chuck Green has contributed to the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune and others covering various industries, including real estate, business and banking, technology, and sports.

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