‘Credit products’ led complaints to bureau’s office of ombudsman for FY 2019

Credit products – including credit cards and non-mortgage lending items such as student loans – were the most-commonly complained about products in inquiries received by the ombudsman’s office of the federal consumer financial protection agency, the agency reported Friday.

In its annual report to the director, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) ombudsman’s office reported that 24% of the complaints it received focused on the credit products. That was followed by:

  • mortgages (23%)
  • deposit products (15%)
  • credit reporting (13%)
  • identity theft, including alleged fraud and embezzlement (9%)
  • debt collection (7%)
  • methods of payment, including money transfers and debit cards (3%)
  • all other (6%)

However, the ombudsman’s office pointed out, complaints to it (from individuals and others, such as organizations) made up only 26% of all inquiries it received in the fiscal year. Questions made up 60% of all inquiries, the report noted.

Inquiries themselves – including complaints – continued to decline in fiscal year (FY) 2019, the report stated; that continued a general trend that started after FY 2017. Overall, the ombudsman’s office received 1,233 inquiries in 2019, compared to 1,385 in 2018 and 1,610 in 2017.

On the other hand, the report noted, “process critiques” of the consumer complaint process grew in 2019 to 52% of all inquiries about that process. That share is the highest of such inquiries the office has received since 2015 (when it accounted for 28% of all individual inquiries).

The report noted that the category of “process critiques” covers “feedback provided about the complaint process, including the prescribed timeframes, dissatisfaction with the closure or outcome of the complaint process, or the manner in which the CFPB conducted the process.”

CFPB Ombudman’s Office 2019 Annual Report to the Director