Earlier this month, the CFPB issued a press release describing its second snapshot report of complaints from military consumers. The report details complaints the CFPB has received from servicemembers, veterans, and their families and the measures it has taken in response. Between July 2011 and January 2014, the CFPB has received approximately 14,000 complaints, handling more than 250 complaints per week in the last fiscal quarter. The CFPB explained that complaints have arrived from every state, and every rank and branch of the Armed Services.
The CFPB reports that servicemembers, veterans and their families who submitted complaints have received more than $1 million in relief since July 2011. Mortgages, credit cards and bank accounts and services are the leading areas in which complainants received monetary relief. Other servicemembers have received non-monetary relief such as resolution of issues with credit reports, enjoining debt collectors from harassing practices, and correcting account information.
The report states that mortgages, debt collection, and credit cards comprise the top areas of complaint among servicemembers, veterans and their families. Further, the report indicates that the CFPB “is particularly concerned about when servicemembers are not seeing the unique protections accorded to them by federal laws,” and identifies the following as areas of concern: debt collection; student loans; payday loans; and mortgages. The report emphasizes that the CFPB requests that companies respond to complaints within 15 days and expects that companies will close all but the most complicated complaints within 60 days.
The new report reflects a continuing emphasis on issues associated with servicemembers, veterans and their families, and suggests that the CFPB will be looking beyond the traditional problem areas – mortgages, debt collection, and credit cards – and into others, notably student loans and payday loans. We write frequently about the CFPB’s scrutiny of the payday lending and student loan industries; servicemembers, veterans and their families are often afforded enhanced protections in their interactions with these industries. Combining those protections with enhanced scrutiny arms the CFPB with a potent mix of tools. Those involved in payday and student lending would do well to brush up on the SCRA, MLA, and other protections afforded servicemembers, veterans and their families.