30% of military consumer complaints in FY19 dealt with credit or consumer reporting, CFPB report shows

Of total complaints received by the federal consumer financial protection agency in fiscal 2019 (Oct. 1, 2018, to Sept. 30, 2019), nearly one-third of them – 10,500, or 30% – were about credit or consumer reporting, according to a report issued by the agency’s Office of Servicemember Affairs (OSA).

In all, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) received 34,600 complaints from military consumers during fiscal 2019. Of those received about credit or consumer reporting, the report states, the most common credit reporting issue reported was incorrect information on a credit report.

The next-most frequent complaint was over debt collection, which generated 14.2% of total complaints. “Other” debt and credit card debt were the most complained about debt types in the debt collection category, the bureau said; the issue noted most often in debt collection complaints was attempts to collect debt not owed.

“The OSA also remains concerned about the third largest debt collection complaint category for military consumers – that the debt collector ‘took or threatened to take negative or legal action,’” the report states.

“The Bureau has previously documented how debt collectors have threatened servicemembers with legal action under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ),” it states, noting that the more recent data “reinforces the need for the OSA to educate servicemembers about how to properly respond to debt collectors who threaten UCMJ or other legal action.”

Other categories of complaints in fiscal 2019, from the greatest to fewest in number, were mortgages (8.4%); credit cards (6.4%); checking or savings accounts (5%); student loans (2.3%); vehicle loans or leases (2%); money transfers, money services, and virtual currencies (1.2%); followed by personal loans, prepaid cards, payday loans, credit repair, and title loans (each of which were cited in less than 1% of total complaints).

The report also looks at the financial well-being of veterans (a survey showed that the financial well-being of survey respondents was relatively high, with an average financial well-being score of 61 on a scale from 0 to 100); and use of home loans backed by the Veterans Affairs Administration.

Office of Servicemember Affairs Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2019