Credit Reporting Companies Top CFPB List of Consumer Complaints

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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) last week published its first Monthly Complaint Report, providing data the agency has collected regarding consumer complaints collected during the first four years of its existence. The CFPB was established as part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill and was launched in 2011.

As of July 1, 2015, the CFPB has handled 650,700 complaints. The monthly report uses a three-month rolling average to compare the current period to the same period in the prior year. For the three-months from April through June the agency reported a rise of 8% in total complaints, from 21,020 in 2014 to 23,400 in 2015.

Credit reporting agencies Equifax Inc. (NYSE: EFX) (946) and Experian (885) received the most complaints for the three-month period between February and April of this year. The two-month difference reflects the 60-day period that companies have to confirm that they have a commercial relationship with the consumer making the complaint.

The company receiving the third largest number of complaints during the three months was Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) with 802 and fourth was TransUnion (NYSE: TRU) with 727.

Rounding out the top 10 are Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC) with 687; JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) with 622; Citibank (Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C)) with 507; Ocwen Financial Corp. (NYSE: OCN) with 451; Nationstar Mortgage Holdings Inc. (NYSE: NSM) with 354; and Capital One Financial Corp. (NYSE: COF).

Among the top 10 only 2 experienced an increase in complaints compared with the same period a year ago: complaints against Equifax rose 8% and complaints against TransUnion rose 7%. The largest drops among the top 10 came at Ocwen (down 29%), Wells Fargo (down 20%), and BofA and JPMorgan, both down 14%.

Of the 10 most-complained-about companies, BofA is the leader with 47,732 since July 2011, followed by Wells Fargo (33,214), JPMorgan (26,969), Citibank (20,762), and Experian (20,523).

In both years the largest number of complaints were lodged against debt collection services: 7,810 in 2014 compared with 7,286 this year, a decline of 7%. Complaints about mortgages rose from 4,337 in the year ago period to 4,405 (up 2%) this year.

The largest year-over-year percentage increase came in consumer loans, up 55% from 658 to 1,022, followed by a rise of 27% in credit reporting complaints, a 26% rise in complaints about payday loans, an 18% rise in complaints about student loans, a 17% increase in credit card complaints, and a 15% increase in complaints related to money transfers.

In addition to the drop in complaints against debt collections, the only other category to experience a decline in complaints was bank accounts or services, down 8%.

Of the total of 650,700 complaints, the mortgage category received the most, 183,451, and complaints related to debt collection ranked second with 163,084. These two categories accounted for more than half of all complaints received by the agency.

Based on the total number of complaints per 100,000 population, the District of Columbia leads with 577, with Delaware (371), Maryland (333), Florida (315), and New Jersey (277) rounding out the top five.

The five states with the least complaints per 100,000 population were North Dakota (81), Iowa (96), West Virginia (97), Arkansas (98), and Mississippi (107).

The full report is available here.