Mortgages, credit reporting and debt collection complaints collectively represented 68 percent of all complaints submitted to the bureau’s Consumer Complaint Database in the last month of 2015, according to the report.
Overall, the CFPB received a total of 20,388 consumer complaints in December about a wide range of financial products, including credit cards, bank accounts and services, private student loans, vehicle loans, money transfers and payday loans.
Of those complaints, 3,839, or about 19 percent, were mortgage-related, the CFPB said. However, according to the report, mortgage-related complaints fell about 2 percent from the previous month.
“Many of the financial services examined in today’s report are used by people struggling to make ends meet who can least afford to have issues with their financial products,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “The bureau will continue to use complaints submitted about these products to target bad actors in the financial marketplace.”
Most frequently cited companies
The report also named the mortgage companies with the highest volume of complaints. Topping the list was Citibank, which experienced a 22-percent increase in complaints in the last three months of 2015 compared to the same period in 2014; Wells Fargo, which experienced a 20-percent increase in complaints during that period; JPMorgan Chase, which experienced a 15-percent increase; Capital One, which experienced a 13-percent increase; and Nationstar Mortgage, which experienced a 6-percent increase.
The report also identified Ocwen and Bank of America as lenders with high volume of complaints, but those lenders experienced an 18-percent and 2-percent decrease in complaints, respectively, in the last three months of 2015 compared with the same period the previous year.
One-quarter of New York complaints were mortgage-related
Each month, the CFPB spotlights complaints from one part of the country, and New York was December’s chosen focus.
Consumers in the Big Apple most often submit mortgage complaints, and their complaints usually run parallel to the national trend.
According to the report, 25 percent of complaints from New York consumers were mortgage-related, compared to the 27 percent national average.
New York consumers most frequently complained about their mortgage experiences with JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citibank, Bank of America, Capital One, Ocwen and TD Bank.
Since the inception of the CFPB’s Monthly Complaint Report, New York has received a total of 12,570 mortgage-related complaints.
But historically, California, the nation’s largest real estate state, has received the highest number of mortgage-related complaints with 36,348 total.
Those states are joined by Florida (23,558) and Texas (9,918), as the states with the highest number of mortgage-related complaints.
States in the Great Plains region, which are less populated, have received the lowest number of mortgage-related complaints to date: North Dakota (97 complaints); Wyoming (165 complaints); and South Dakota (189 complaints).
Fluctuating mortgage-related grievances since 2011
Historically, the CFPB has received a total of 209,618 mortgage-related complaints, with an average of 4,202 complaints per month.
Mortgage-related complaints hit a monthly peak of 7,155 in January 2013 and were lowest in January 2011, when the CFPB first began putting out its reports and received only 14 such complaints.
The CFPB began accepting complaints as soon as it opened its doors in July 2011. The bureau launched the Consumer Complaint Database, which is the nation’s largest public collection of consumer financial complaints, in June 2012.
As of Jan. 1 this year, the CFPB has handled over 790,000 complaints across all of the financial products it regulates.
The CFPB expects companies to respond to complaints and to describe the steps they have taken or plan to take to resolve the complaint within 15 days of receipt. All but the most complicated complaints are expected to be closed within 60 days.
Consumer complaints express dissatisfaction with, or share suspicion of wrongful conduct by, an identifiable entity related to a consumer’s personal experience with a financial product or service.
Complaints referred to other regulators, such as complaints about depository institutions with less than $10 billion in assets, are not published in the Consumer Complaint Database.
The database can be viewed at consumerfinance.gov/complaintdatabase. Users can search, sort, filter and export complaints.