The CFPB has issued its May 2017 complaint report highlighting complaints from “older consumers,” who the CFPB defines as consumers who voluntarily reported their age as 62 or older. The CFPB reports that consumers voluntarily reported their age in 54 percent of complaints.
General findings include the following:
- As of April 1, 2017, the CFPB handled approximately 1,163,200 complaints nationally, of which approximately 103,100 (9 percent) were submitted by older consumers, including approximately 2,200 older consumer complaints in March 2017. (The CFPB does not explain why the numbers it provides for complaints handled nationally do not reflect complaints submitted as of May 1, 2017 or why it has provided the number of older consumer complaints submitted in March 2017 rather than in April 2017.)
- In the 54 percent of complaints submitted by older consumers, debt collection, mortgages, and credit reporting were the top three most-complained-about financial products or services, representing about 60 percent of older consumer complaints submitted in March 2017.
- A higher percentage of complaints submitted by older consumers involved mortgages, credit cards, and bank accounts and services than complaints from non-older consumers. The percentage of complaints submitted by older consumers involving debt collection was lower than the percentage of such complaints submitted by non-older consumers.
- The most common issues identified by older consumers in mortgage complaints were problems when unable to pay (loan modification/collection/foreclosure), making payments (servicing/collection/foreclosure), and applying for a loan (application/originator/mortgage broker). The first two categories collectively represented 79 percent of mortgage complaints.
- The most common issues identified by older consumers in credit card complaints were problems with billing disputes, identify theft/fraud/embezzlement, and other.
- The most common complaints about bank accounts or services were problems with account management, deposits and withdrawals, and problems caused by low funds.
Findings about reverse mortgages include the following:
- The CFPB based its findings on complaints submitted by all consumers rather than only complaints where the consumer reported his or her age because most reverse mortgages are linked to older consumers due to the requirements of Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs).
- The most common issues identified by consumers were problems when unable to pay (loan modification/collection/foreclosure), making payments (servicing/collection/foreclosure), and applying for a loan (application/originator/mortgage broker). The first two categories collectively represented 72 percent of reverse mortgage complaints.
- Experiences reported by consumers included difficulties encountered with servicers by non-borrowing spouses or successors in interest seeking to remain in the property following the borrower’s death or to purchase or sell the property.
Findings regarding issues raised by older consumers that are unique to or have unique effects for older consumers include the following:
- Older consumers complained that escrow payments and analysis statements did not accurately reflect the benefits of property tax relief programs that reduce obligations for consumers that fulfill certain income, age, ownership status, disability, or other assets requirements.
- Older consumers who turned to credit cards to cover large expenses, which were often medical, reported not understanding a card’s terms and conditions such as the distinction between deferred interest and no interest.
- Older consumers reported difficulties using a power of attorney at financial institutions, such as the need to use company-specific forms, and difficulty in navigating the steps for taking control of financial assets after the death of a spouse or family member.