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ICFE eNEWS #16-07 - March 28th 2016

The CFPB Issues Fourth Annual Report on Servicemember Complaints

Barbara S. Mishkin

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) Office of Servicemember Affairs released its fourth annual report highlighting complaints submitted in 2015 by servicemembers, veterans, and their families.

The report states that in 2015, the CFPB received approximately 19,200 complaints from members of the military community. (Total complaints received by the CFPB in 2015 were approximately 271,600.) Approximately 71 percent of the military complaints were submitted through the CFPB's website, with the balance submitted by telephone, mail, email and fax. In 2015, the CFPB received 13% more military complaints than it received in 2014.

The three most-complained-about products or services were debt collection, mortgages, and credit reporting. Of the total military complaints, approximately 46% (8,900) involved debt collection. The report indicates that military consumers submitted debt collection complaints at almost twice the rate of the general consumer population.

Specific issues involved in military complaints included:

  • Debt collection: Approximately 44 percent of the 8,900 debt collection complaints involved attempts to collect a debt that the servicemember believed was not owed. Approximately 17 percent of the debt collection complaints involved communication tactics, such as calls to third parties, including commanding officers. Medical debt was involved in approximately 13 percent of debt collection complaints, such as attempts to collect medical bills believed to be covered by VA health insurance.
  • Mortgages: Approximately 2,800 complaints concerned mortgages, with the most common complaint involving problems faced due to inability to make payments, such as problems with loan modifications, collections, and foreclosures. In particular, servicemembers complained about loss mitigation options when receiving a permanent change of station order requiring them to relocate.
  • Credit Reporting: Approximately 2,200 complaints concerned credit reporting, with 72% of such complaints involving claims of incorrect information on credit reports.

The report also describes CFPB outreach efforts to the military community, such as visits to military installations, and 2015 enforcement actions involving servicemember issues. Those enforcement actions included an action against processors of military allotments and another against a mortgage lender alleged to have engaged in deceptive advertising by falsely suggesting that the lender was affiliated with the U.S. government.

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Sent by:

Paul S. Richard
President - Executive Director
Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE)

About the ICFE:

The Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE) was founded in 1982 by the late Loren Dunton (creator of the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation).  The ICFE is dedicated to helping consumers of all ages to improve their spending, increase savings and use credit more wisely. 
The ICFE is an award winning, nonprofit, consumer education organization that has helped millions of people through its education programs and Resources. It publishes the Do-It-Yourself Credit File correction Guide, which is updated annually. The ICFE has distributed over one million Credit/Debit Card Warning Labels and Credit/Debit Card Sleeves world wide.

The ICFE became an official partner with the Department of Defense/Financial Readiness Campaign in June of 2004.The ICFE was an active partner in the California Student Debt Resource Awareness Project (CASDRAP) which resulted in a new web site: (studentdebthelp.org).  CASDRAP disbanded in 2010, shortly after the web site project was completed.  In 2011 the ICFE assumed the single sponsorship of the (studentdebthelp.org) web site and is now responsible for its content and operation.

The ICFE is also an on-line help for consumers who spend too much.  ICFE's spending help was featured in PARADE Magazine in the Intelligence Report section. The money helps and tips are from the ICFE's Money Instruction Book, our course in personal finance.

Visit the ICFE's other web sites at: www.financial-education-icfe.org and studentdebthelp.org.  Both sites helps consumers and students with mending spending, learning about the proper use of credit, budget and expense guidelines, how to set up and implement a spending-plan and also how to access financial education courses and how to teach children about money. Other ICFE services include: Ask Mr. G,  a free eNews, and an online resource center for students, parents and educators, plus financial education learning tools and a book store.

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