Consumer Complaints to the CFPB: Historical and Emerging Trends


The authors examine more than one million consumer complaints logged in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) database.

This article charts the growth in consumer complaints between 2011, when the CFPB began accepting complaints, and May 2018.

Surge in credit reporting complaints

Analyzing more than one million consumer complaints, the authors identify significant historical and current trends, which may shed light on potential future areas of focus for the Bureau in enforcing consumer protection.

Since December 2016, complaints regarding credit reporting and debt collection have surged. These two categories are now the top two most-complained about products. They are also the primary drivers for the near-record rate of 23,000 total complaints per month over the January–May 2018 period.

CFPB enforcement activity declines

By contrast, enforcement activity by the CFPB remains relatively depressed, with the bureau initiating only three actions in the first seven months of the Bureau’s new leadership. This is a decrease relative to the 24 actions initiated in the first half of 2017. Time and more data will tell how the CFPB intends to shape its enforcement activities going forward.

This article was originally published by Thomson Reuters in the August 20, 2018 edition of Westlaw Journal of Bank & Lender Liability.

The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of Cornerstone Research.

Consumer Complaints to the CFPB: Historical and Emerging Trends


  • Washington

Jennifer McCabe

Vice President

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Lindsay Schick