The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released its annual Consumer Response Report to Congress on March 24. The Bureau has analyzed the responses and found that there was a 54% increase in complaints in 2020 from the previous year. The total number of complaints rose from 352,400 in 2019 to 542,300 in 2020. The CFPB believes that the pandemic played a significant role in the increase of complaints.
The CFPB stated that while only 5.9% of the complaints explicitly mentioned COVID-19–related topics, the CFPB believes that the “absence of coronavirus as a keyword in a complaint does not necessarily mean the complaint was not related to the financial impact of the pandemic.”
CFPB Acting Director Dave Ueijo said that “the pandemic has been among the most disruptive long-term events we will see in our lifetimes. Not surprisingly, the shockwaves it sent across the planet were felt deeply in the consumer financial marketplace.” With this in mind, the report includes an extensive discussion of the financial impact that consumers have faced during the pandemic.
A significant portion of the complaints related to an ongoing trend in which the largest credit and consumer reporting agencies such as Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion have given inaccurate information to creditors. The CFPB noticed that compared to previous years, these agencies have “stopped providing complete and accurate responses to many of these complaints” for the year 2020. The CFPB is planning on releasing a report on the increase in complaints concerning credit reporting agencies, expected to be released later this year.
The CFPB intends to take a more regulatory approach for the coming years, with President Biden’s nomination of the current Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Commissioner Rohit Chopra to be the next director of the CFPB. Chopra favors a more aggressive approach to regulation and enforcement to, in his words, “rein in firms that abuse their power and break the law.”
Organizations need to implement a robust compliance framework that helps facilitate complaint management and meet the requirements of governmental and voluntary regulations for complaint handling. There is a limited amount of time to resolve complaints when they are received from the CFPB, and a flexible solution provides metrics and notifications to help you keep track of those deadlines, responses, and follow-ups to ensure timely resolution of all complaints.
Explore tools and best practices for integrating complaint and policy management into your compliance program with the Compliance Risk Toolkit.