The CFPB has issued its Annual Report detailing complaints submitted to the CFPB by servicemembers, veterans and their families.According to the Report, the CFPB received 271,600 total complaints in 2015.Of those, 19,200 (or approximately 7%) were from the military community in 2015.Consistent with the CFPB’s monthly reports, the three most common complaints involved debt collection, mortgage and credit reporting.
The CFPB report notes that compared to the general population who files complaints, servicemembers’ complaints are twice as likely to be about debt collection.The most common debt collection complaint regarding the military community are attempts to collect a debt not owed.The Report clarifies that in many cases, the attempt to collect the debt is not the problem – rather, service members complain that the calculation of the amount owed is either inaccurate or unfair.The Report also notes that medical debt concerns comprise 13% of servicemember debt complaints, coming largely from the veteran population.
Regarding mortgage, the most common complaints are problems that occur when unable to pay or put another way, issues with servicers and loss mitigation.A positive that can be drawn from the Report is that those complaints are down rather significantly from 2014 (falling from 48% of the complaints to 40% of the complaints).
The dominant issue regarding credit reporting is incorrect information appearing on the consumer’s credit report. The Report suggests a disproportionate amount of fraud and identity theft.
So what can we draw from this Report?The Report indicates the products drawing complaints are similar for the military and general population, at least as to the three most common products complained of.The Report, however, does indicate that consumer loan issues are more prevalent in the military community than in the general population.Specifically, the Report identifies problems with auto finance which may in part be attributable to the unique lifestyle of the military.Of particular interest, the Report suggests that a common complaint is the restriction placed upon auto finance products prohibiting the consumer from taking the car out of the country.On a positive note, the Report reflects that the majority of complaints over all product types are closed with explanation.