The CFPB recently released its first in-depth report regarding complaint submission patterns by demographic and socio-economic groups. To prepare the report, the CFPB matched consumer complaint data to census tract-level data. The findings are based on the nearly one million consumer complaints submitted to the CFPB between 2018 and 2020.
Overall, the report finds that the experiences and concerns of communities, with respect to consumer financial products and services, vary by race and wealth. Key findings of the report also include:
- Complaints from wealthier communities and communities with higher percentages of white, non-Hispanic residents were more frequently about loan origination and servicing, while the complaints from communities of color and lower income communities were more frequently about credit reporting, identity theft, and delinquent servicing.
- Loan origination complaints increased by nearly 50% in 2020 over 2019, driven largely by mortgage complaints. This increase was most noticeable in neighborhoods with fewer people of color and higher-income neighborhoods.
- Neighborhoods with the highest share of white, non-Hispanic consumers submit complaints relating to loan originations at more than twice the rate of neighborhoods with the highest share of black consumers.
- Consumers from neighborhoods with the highest percentage of black residents submit the most complaints per resident.
- Lower income census tracts (those at or below 40% of their area’s median income) submit around 30% more complaints per resident than census tracts at around 100% of their area’s median income.
- The volume of consumers submitting complaints to the CFPB has increased significantly over the past 18 months, from February 2020 to July 2021. The CFPB experienced a large increase in the volume of consumers with credit reporting and loan origination complaints that roughly coincided with the declaration of the COVID-19 national emergency in March 2020.