The fifth volume of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau 's (CFPB ) monthly complaint snapshot released Tuesday highlighted one of its top three most complained-about financial product: mortgages.
In October 2015, the Bureau received 24,300 complaints, and 4,685 of these were mortgage-related complaints, making it the third most complained-about category during August 2015 to October 2015. During the same period last year, mortgage complaints totaled 4,317.
Mortgages were most complained about at Ocwen and Nationstar Mortgage, occupying nearly all of their complaints for October. However, Ocwen's complaints have fallen 16 percent overall from August to October 2014 to August to October 2015, while Nationstar's complaints rose 11 percent. Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and JPMorgan Chase also had a significant number of mortgage-related complaints.
Ocwen Financial Corporation  recently made headlines when the company failed four metrics  in an independent settlement monitor’s review of the servicer’s entire residential mortgage loan portfolio covering the second half of 2014, according to the monitor’s report  filed with the U.S. Court for the District of Columbia.
But one reason for the turnaround in complaints could be that Ocwen is addressing the issues that the monitor pointed out.
“The Monitor’s report confirms continued confidence by the OMSO (Office of Settlement Mortgage Oversight ) in the changes we have made to our Internal Review Group function, the qualifications and process around our metrics testing, and discusses our state of compliance with the National Mortgage Settlement,” Ocwen spokesman John Lovallo said in an email to DS News. “The specific metrics mentioned in this report are from the third and fourth quarters of 2014, and not a reflection of our current operations. They have all been addressed with Corrective Action Plans approved by OMSO and implemented by Ocwen in 2015. We also note that the Monitor’s report specifically discusses that Ocwen has cured its potential violation regarding termination of lender-placed insurance and passed that metric during the cure period in the fourth quarter of 2014.
“Ocwen is committed to being fully compliant with all rules and regulations related to our business, and we continue to invest in our risk and compliance management systems. We will continue to work closely with the Monitor and look forward to the next report.”
Nationstar also made headlines when the company agreed to pay $77 million to settle class-action suits filed by homeowners over the alleged inflating of homeowner insurance rates, according to media reports.
"Ocwen is committed to being fully compliant with all rules and regulations related to our business."
John Lovallo, Ocwen Spokesman
The Nationstar settlement, combined with a similar lawsuit against Ocwen Loan Servicing  (part of Ocwen Financial Corp.) that was settled in September, the two servicers will pay a combined total of $217 million to more than 1 million homeowners.
On a positive note, the CFPB reported that mortgage complaints fell 0.6 percent from the prior month. Overall complaints are up 6 percent month-over-month.
In total, the CFPB has handled about 749,400 complaints as of November 1, 2015. According to the report, mortgage complaints totaled 201,946, the highest complained items thus far followed by debt collection and credit reporting.
"Debt collection, credit reporting, and mortgage complaints continue to be the top three
most-complained-about consumer financial products and services, collectively
representing about 66 percent of complaints submitted in October 2015, the report stated.
According to the CFPB, Idaho, Arkansas, and Nebraska has the highest complaint volume percentage increase from year-over-year at 66 percent, 42 percent, and 41 percent, respectively from August to October 2014 to August to October 2015.
The lowest complaint volume percentage increase came from Alaska (-12 percent), Delaware (-5 percent), and Florida (1 percent), the data showed.
Click here  to view the full report.