Servicemember complaints to CFPB rose 14% in 2020, report shows

The number of servicemember complaints to the federal consumer financial protection agency rose 14% in 2020 to a total of 40,800, with about 8% of those complaints including “coronavirus” or related keywords, the bureau said in a report Thursday.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Office of Servicemember Affairs released the complaint data as part of its 2020 annual report.

The bureau said that credit or consumer reporting, debt collection, and mortgages were the top consumer financial products that received the most complaints from servicemembers during 2020. Notable increases include a 30% rise in complaints about credit reporting in 2020 compared with 2019; a 36% increase in complaints about money transfers and virtual currency; and a 66% increase in complaints about prepaid cards.

The greatest numbers of 2020 complaints break down as follows:

  • Consumer or credit reporting – 16,600 (41% of the total)
  • Debt collection – 8,900 (22%)
  • Mortgage – 4,300 (11%)
  • Credit card – 3,600 (9%)
  • Checking or savings – 2,600 (6%)
  • Money transfer or service, virtual currency – 1,200 (3%)
  • Vehicle loan or lease – 1,200 (3%)

Remaining complaints addressed prepaid cards, personal loans, student loans, payday loans, credit repair, and title loans, with these complaints making up as much as 2% and as little as 0.2% of total complaints received.

The report also showed that servicemembers were more likely than non-servicemembers to submit complaints about debt collection (22% vs. 15%), mortgages (11% vs. 5%), and credit cards (9% vs. 6%). However, they were less likely than non-servicemembers to submit complaints about consumer credit reporting (41% vs. 60%).

The report also addresses the OSA’s outreach and educational efforts in 2020 (including the provision of resources related to the coronavirus pandemic relief), and recent settlements through enforcement actions.