The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was created, in the official words of that organization, “to make markets for consumer financial products and services work for Americans”[1]. Not surprisingly, in today’s economic environment that goal involves hearing a lot – a whole lot – about the mortgage and lending industry, and not much of it is positive according to the latest CFPB report on progress made since its inception. Nearly two-thirds (61 percent) of all complaints handled since December 1, 2011, involve issues with loan modifications, collections, or foreclosures. This percentage did not include the second most common mortgage complaint, making payments, which includes “issues with loan servicing, payments, or escrow accounts”[2]. Issues with origination of and application for loans and with mortgage brokers themselves came in a distant third, making the vast majority of CFPB complaints based on an inability, in some form or fashion, to pay a mortgage. In an interesting but not particularly surprising side note, Bank of America, which handles 15 percent of customer service on U.S. home loans, was tagged in nearly a third of all mortgage-related complaints[3].

When the CFPB receives such complaints it sends about 89 percent of them to the companies in question for review. According to CFPB reports, 95 percent of that 89 percent have already received a response. About seven percent of all complaints are sent to “other regulatory agencies” to be handled there, and about one percent of complaints are “incomplete.” We know that leaves three percent of complaints unaccounted for, but BEIL was unable to determine where those three percent of consumers go.

By Carol VanSickle