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CFPB Launches New Monthly Report Series Analyzing Trends in Consumer Complaints

hands-writing1 [1]The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB [2]) on Thursday published the first in a new series of monthly reports [3] that highlight key trends found in the complaints the consumers submit to the Bureau.

The monthly reports will provide the public and the marketplace with insight into the hundreds of thousands of complaints the CFPB receives from consumers on financial products and services.

The Dodd-Frank Act, out of which the CFPB was created in 2011, established consumer complaint handling as an integral part of the Bureau's mission. The CFPB began handling consumer complaints as soon as it opened its doors in July 2011 and currently accepts complaints on credit cards, mortgages, bank accounts, private student loans, vehicle and other consumer loans, credit reporting, money transfers, debt collection, and payday loans. The CFPB has handled 650,700 complaints as of July 1, 2015.

"Consumer complaints are the CFPB’s compass and play a central role in everything we do. They help us identify and prioritize problems for potential action," CFPB Director Richard Cordray said. "These monthly reports will enable us to share that data with the public more regularly, so that everyone can benefit from the information."

Recognizing the need for more context for the consumer complaints the Bureau receives, the Five Star Institute [4] and Black Knight Financial Services [5] issued a report [6] in April titled "Analysis and Study of CFPB Consumer Complaint Data Related to Mortgage Servicing Activities [7]" seeking to provide context and insight to those complaints by comparing the two predominant mortgage complaint categories, servicing and default, with loan trends. At the time the report was issued, Five Star President and CEO Ed Delgado said, "Through the data lens, we can clearly examine operational efficiency and defect while measuring progress in providing quality service to homeowners."

The CFPB's new monthly reports will contain similar information to the annual reports the Bureau began publishing when it began taking complaints. They will provide the public and marketplace with a high-level snapshot and analysis of trends found in the consumer complaints. Each monthly report will spotlight a particular product and geographic location, according to the CFPB. The first report highlights debt collection complaints received from consumers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Information included in the monthly reports includes:

The CFPB expects companies to respond to complaints within 15 days and describe what steps they have taken or plan to take toward a resolution, and the Bureau expects all but the most complicated complaints to be resolved within 60 days.

In June 2012, the Bureau launched its Consumer Complaint Database, which includes basic, anonymous, individual-level information about complaints received. Until recently, the database included information such as date of submission, consumer's zip code, the relevant company, product type, the issue, and how the company handled the complaint; the CFPB recently changed the database to allow consumers to publish narratives about their complaints.

Click here [8] to see the CFPB's Monthly Complaint Report. Click here [9] to see the CFPB's Consumer Complaint Database, where more individual-level complaint data and narratives of consumers' experiences are available.

Editor's note: The Five Star Institute is the parent company of DS News and DSNews.com.