CFPB Provides Five Year Overview of Consumer Complaints

On July 20, the CFPB published an overview of the consumer complaints it handled between July 2011 and July 2016. According to the overview, the CFPB has handled almost one million consumer complaints, the majority of which relate to either mortgages or debt collection. The CFPB has also handled a significant number of complaints related to the following: (i) bank accounts and services, most commonly about opening, closing, or managing bank accounts; (ii) credit cards, in particular billing disputes; and (iii) credit reporting, most often involving reporting errors in credit reports.

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CFPB to Host Field Hearing on Debt Collection

On July 28, the CFPB will host a field hearing on debt collection in Sacramento, California. CFPB Director Cordray will deliver remarks at the hearing, with consumer groups, industry representatives, and members of the public also providing testimony. It is highly anticipated that, at the hearing, the CFPB will release an outline of proposals for consideration by a Small Business Review Panel. Pursuant to the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA), the CFPB must convene a Small Business Review Panel if a proposed rule may have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. A SBREFA outline may be a strong indicator of the approach the CFPB intends to take on a future proposed rule on debt collection.

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FTC Continues Operation Collection Protection Efforts

On July 14, the FTC announced that two debt collectors and three companies (collectively, Defendants) previously charged with using false threats and other illegal collection tactics in violation of the FTC Act and the FDCPA have agreed to a stipulated final order. According to the FTC, the Defendants purchased consumer debts and then collected payment by intimidating consumers with false threat of lawsuits, wage garnishment and arrest, and by impersonating attorneys or process servers. In addition, the FTC alleged that the Defendants (i) failed to disclose to consumers their right to receive verification of a debt; (ii) did not identify themselves as debt collectors; and (iii) disclosed debts to third parties. The final order imposes a $4,802,646 judgment, which the FTC partially suspended upon the surrender of certain assets, and requires that the two individual debt collectors separately pay $59,207 and $50,562. The action is part of the FTC’s Operation Collection Protection, a nationwide initiative designed to combat alleged abusive and deceptive debt collection practices.

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CFPB’s Summer Edition of Supervisory Highlights Discloses Issues across Various Financial Markets

On June 30, the CFPB released its twelfth edition of Supervisory Highlights providing supervisory observations from its examiners in the areas of auto origination, debt collection, mortgage origination, small-dollar lending, and fair lending. In the area of auto origination, examiners determined that one or more institutions engaged in deceptive advertising practices related to the benefits of gap coverage products and the effects of payment deferrals, and failed to implement adequate compliance management systems. In the area of debt collection, examiners found that debt sellers sold thousands of debts that were unsuitable for sale because: (i) the accounts were in bankruptcy; (ii) the debts were the product of fraud; or (iii) the accounts had been paid in full. CFPB examiners further observed violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), determining that at least one collector falsely represented to consumers that a down payment was necessary in order to establish a repayment arrangement, when no such down payment was required by the collectors’ policies and procedures. For mortgage origination, CFPB examiners focused on compliance with provisions of CFPB’s Title XIV rules, the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), as implemented by Regulation Z, and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), as implemented by Regulation X, disclosure provisions, and other applicable consumer financial laws. Read more…

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CFPB Monthly Complaint Snapshot Highlights Consumer Loan Complaints

On June 28, the CFPB released its monthly complaint report focusing on consumer loans, including vehicle loans and leases, installment loans, title loans, and pawn loans. According to the report, of the 906,400 consumer complaints across all products the CFPB has received as of June 1, 2016, approximately 38,500 were in the consumer loans category. Findings regarding consumer loan complaints highlighted in the report include: (i) just over half of consumer loan complaints pertain to vehicle loans, with installment loans following at 31 percent; (ii) consumers most often complain about issues related to servicing the loan, lease, or line of credit; and (iii) additional common consumer loan complaints include encountering problems when shopping for a loan, when taking out a loan, and when consumers are unable to repay a loan.

This month’s report includes a “sub product spotlight” to highlight complaints specific to auto lending, which make up 60 percent of the 38,500 consumer loan complaints the CFPB has received since July 21, 2011. Consumer loan complaints specific to auto lending include, but are not limited to: (i) payment processing issues, such as consumers not having their accounts debited timely and correctly; (ii) confusion over fees and interest rates; (iii) repossession of vehicles without notification; (iv) misleading advertising at “Buy Here Pay Here” dealerships; and (v) insufficient warranty coverage, with consumers alleging that they believed they were required to purchase warranties that did not end up covering basic repairs as they expected. Read more…

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